RealTime IT News

BellSouth Constructs Bundle Business

New home buyers are used to their builders asking about siding, flooring and countertops, but DSL, wireless and satellite TV?

In an effort to lock in residential customers early, regional carrier BellSouth today announced that it has signed a partnership with Pulte Homes .

Pulte salespeople will be trained to explain BellSouth's local, long-distance and broadband service, as well as offerings from Cingular Wireless (which is co-owned by BellSouth) and satellite video provider DirecTV. In addition, a dedicated sales and support team will assist Pulte employees.

"Customers must contact BellSouth directly to order," Zealous Wiley, a BellSouth spokesman, told internetnews.com. "Pulte is only responsible for marketing the available services."

The partnership has the potential to boost BellSouth subscriber numbers. Pulte is the nation's largest new home builder (by revenue) and constructs more than 8,000 homes each year in the Atlanta-based carrier's nine-state territory.

Citing contractual agreements, Wiley declined to disclose details about how Pulte will be compensated for new sign-ups.

Today's agreement flows through BellSouth's newly created community technologies division. The unit was formed in August to strike deals with owners and developers of single-family communities, apartments and condominiums.

It's also part of a larger effort to win more residential customers. Last month, BellSouth signed an agreement with Yahoo to offer co-branded DSL.

The builder is no stranger to these agreements, either, and views them as a way to improve customer satisfaction

Mark Marymee, a spokesman for the Bloomfield Hills, Mich.-based company, said similar pacts are in place with Qwest , SBC , Sprint and Verizon in their respective coverage areas.