What is a Service Provider?

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  • Written By: M. McGee
  • Edited By: C. Wilborn
  • Last Modified Date: 25 September 2019
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A service provider is a business that supplies expert care or specialized services rather than an actual product. The term is usually saved for companies related to communication or technology, such as mobile phone companies or Internet service providers. Other service-related businesses, such as banks or mechanics, rarely are called a service provider, even though the name would fit. It is common for companies in this field to provide subscriptions for their clients rather than work through single sales.

There are many different types of service providers. These companies typically have a narrow focus and customer base. While it is not uncommon for a person to deal with more than one type of service provider, it is uncommon for that person to deal with two of the same type. For instance, few people have more than one type of Internet, cable and DSL, coming into the same house.

Internet service providers (ISP) provide access to the Internet and are a base for several other computer-related service providers. While there are a wide variety of service types, dial-up, cable modem, or DSL to name a few, the overall service is similar across the companies. Most ISPs require a monthly subscription fee in exchange for letting the user access their systems and network to transmit data. Their network is in turn connected to others, allowing full Internet access.


A network service provider (NSP) connects ISPs and business networks together, allowing separate networks to talk. Some NSPs have moved into home and business service as ISPs, blurring the line between the two company types. NSPs may also provide access to phone companies, allowing transmission of both normal and cellular calls.

Application service providers (ASP) provide computer services like program access or remote troubleshooting and repair. These software-as-a-service companies typically have highly specialized software used for specific tasks. This software is used through a web portal for as long as the subscribing company requires it. While typically seen as a business service, online games also fall under the ASP header. These games can have millions of paying subscribers making them one of the largest sectors of the ASP market.

Hosting service providers hold Internet-based information, such as webpages or downloadable files. Hosts provide a platform for the creation of webpages, file storage, or information exchange. This service keeps home and business users from needing to maintain a webserver for their information.

A telecommunications service provider allows people to talk to one another through the phone system. Communication over landlines has become less common, and most communication is done through satellites and full ground networks. It is increasingly common for a land call and a cell call to be transmitted along the same line as an Internet video or a cable TV show.


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Post 3

Latte31 - I also have Direct TV for cable service and I also enjoy it very much.

I know those bundle packages do save you some money but I rather use the service provider that I like best.

For example, AT&T has a bundle package with Bellsouth if you use them as your wireless service provider and subscribe to Bellsouth’s landline and DSL service for $100 a month.

The problem is that I love Verizon which is my mobile service provider. Their reception is excellent and I have never had any dropped calls so I would never switch to AT&T no matter what. For me quality is more important than price.

Post 2

I use Bellsouth as my DSL service provider and telephone service provider. They also have a bundle package that includes cable for $100 a month, but rather have Direct TV.

I find that the reception on Direct TV better than the reception for regular cable.

They also offer a lot more channels and I love the DVR option because I get to record programs that I could watch later.

It is really addicting. You can record a single program or all of the episodes of the program. It gives you 200 hours of available recording time before you have to delete some programs. There are also thousands of movies that you can download for free.

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