Once again, bundling is the mantra of the day for telecom providers. If you listen to some executives on their earnings calls, bundling your voice, data and video services will not only bring them more revenue, but it will also cure the common cold.SBC\u00a0has launched in California to become available in my area.CRM\u00a0kicked in and I was told, \u201cWell you know, you should move your lines to our new bundled local and long-distance plan, that will solve your problem too.\u201d\u00a0 I tell the person that I\u2019ve been waiting for that, but it\u2019s not available in my area -\u00a0 the Web site tells me so. The reply? \u201cOh, the Web site is never right, my computer here says it is available.\u201d\u00a0So since I\u2019ve heard so much about this lately (and have a little bit of a runny nose), I thought I\u2019d check out if I, too, could get a supersized bundle for my phone line at home. Being a member of the analyst corps, I get press releases all the time about what is available where, and I\u2019ve been waiting on a particular local\/long distance bundling package that\u00a0So I\u2019ve checked the SBC Web site each month, expecting it to be available, since it is in California and other SBC states. Each month, I\u2019ve been dissatisfied to find that \u201cWe're sorry, SBC does not offer this product or service in your area at this time.\u201dOne day SBC decided to reset something in my CO. This resulted in\u00a0my rollover feature (moving incoming calls from Line 1 to Line 2 when Line 1 is busy) being, of course, disabled. Clients and coworkers began complaining that they could never reach me when I was on Line 1 talking to someone.\u00a0 So I called to get this repaired.While explaining the problem to SBC on the phone, their\u00a0Well after a short HAL9000-ish conversation of whose computer do we believe, we start talking about the capabilities of the package. Being a \u201clet me see it in writing\u201d type of guy, I go to the Web site to see what\u2019s in the package that is promoted on their site, but I can\u2019t see the details because \u201cSBC does not offer this product or service in your area at this time.\u201dSo we go through a process of discussing the offer in detail, and it sounds like just what I wanted.\u00a0 I can add unlimited long-distance to two voice lines and my fax line for about $4 more per month total, and I get to keep all my features I am using. SBC captures my long distance dollars. Everyone is happy.One problem: voice mail.\u00a0 My voice mail today is on Line 2 and I need rollover from Line 1, and then to voice mail (remember, the reason I called in the first place).\u00a0 With this SBC package, the voice mail has to go on the main line, Line 1.\u00a0 \u201cWe can\u2019t put it on Line 2, it\u2019s not in the package.\u201d\u00a0 So I ask, if we change my main number from Line 1 to line 2, will that resolve the situation. \u201cYes\u201d the rep answers. OK, so that\u2019s no problem, so we continue.\u00a0 SBC will swap the lines and reset Call Forwarding on Busy\/No Answer to make this work.So he proceeds to tell me about all the things he\u2019s going to do, and one of the things is add Call Waiting to each line\u00a0- \u201cIt\u2019s part of the package.\u201d\u201cBut I don\u2019t want Call Waiting,\u201d I say, \u201cThat\u2019s why I signed up for two lines and a voice mail on the second line.\u00a0 Just turn that off.\u201d\u00a0\u201cI can\u2019t, it\u2019s part of the package.\u201d\u00a0 I explain that I\u2019ll just call customer service after cutover and get it turned off on the switch, and he checks with his manager: \u201cYou can\u2019t do that, you have to have it working to get the package.\u201dSo SBC won\u2019t let me pay for something I won\u2019t use, and I can\u2019t put the voice mailbox on a different line.\u00a0 So while I\u2019m considering this, the rep drops the casual remark that I\u2019ll see a $60 setup fee on my next bill.\u00a0 \u201cThat\u2019s not for signing up for the bundled package,\u201d he says, \u201cThat\u2019s for changing your main number on the account,\u201d which we would have to do in order to make the voice mail work.Now we don\u2019t like piling on SBC (there are so many similar situations from other carriers that we hear about from clients and friends), but this isn\u2019t an isolated incident. When Pat moved his home office recently, he switched to exactly this same package. Or so he thought\u2026 Two weeks later, he checked to see who his LD carrier was\u00a0- and it wasn\u2019t SBC. It took several weeks of three-calls-a-week to finally get his service cut over. Oh yeah, and he\u2019s stuck with Call Waiting too.This really goes to show that an old truth remains:\u00a0 if you can\u2019t execute, then the best package or deal or bundle isn\u2019t worth the money you spent on the advertising (or Web site development). Creating a bundle takes some serious integration, training and back office work.In the end, I abandoned the order. Instead of capturing me as a customer for the bundled package, they are now dispatching someone to fix the local switch. Go figure. I think the Web site was right: it\u2019s not available in my area.