& cplSiteName &

Comcast-TWC: Merger of Equals in Poor Service?

Mari Silbey
3/25/2014
50%
50%

Consumers Union, the activist group and policy division of Consumer Reports, thinks the latest poor showings by Comcast and Time Warner Cable in a customer satisfaction survey should give regulators plenty of pause when considering the merger between the two companies.

The Consumer Reports National Research Center has published the new results of a survey asking consumers to rank television and Internet services. Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) ranked 15 out of 17 for value and customer support. Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC) scored even worse, sliding in at 16 out of 17 for overall television service and faring particularly badly in the categories of value, reliability, and customer support.

"Both Comcast and Time Warner Cable rank very poorly with consumers when it comes to value for the money and have earned low ratings for customer support," said Delara Derakhshani, policy counsel for Consumers Union of U.S. Inc. "A merger combining these two huge companies would give Comcast even greater control over the cable and broadband Internet markets, leading to higher prices, fewer choices, and worse customer service for consumers."

In arguing for the acquisition of Time Warner Cable, Comcast has said that combining forces would allow it to innovate faster and accelerate deployment of new services. Executives have also maintained that a merger would not decrease competition because the two companies have no customer overlap.

However, even though the creation of a larger entity would give Comcast more purchasing power with programmers, the company has been quick to say that a deal does not mean its monthly subscription fees would go down. Therefore, to improve consumers' perception of value in the future, the combined cable company would have to deliver on its promises of better service, at least enough to compensate for continued high prices. (See Comcast Strikes $45B Deal for TWC and Comcast's TWC Coup: 3 Things to Know.)

Neither Comcast nor Time Warner Cable responded to requests for comment on the latest survey results in time for publication.

Expect to hear more arguments for and against Comcast's proposed acquisition deal in the near future as the merger regulatory review process heats up in Washington, DC. The Senate Committee on the Judiciary will hold a hearing to examine the impact of the deal on consumers next Wednesday, April 2.

— Mari Silbey, special to Light Reading

(12)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
Page 1 / 2   >   >>
Mitch Wagner
50%
50%
Mitch Wagner,
User Rank: Lightning
4/18/2014 | 4:32:22 PM
Let's pretend
Here's an interesting report: Time Warner Cable Pretends Customer Complaints Don't Exist

That's one way to improve customer satisfaction -- pretend nobody's complaining. 
DHagar
50%
50%
DHagar,
User Rank: Light Sabre
3/26/2014 | 1:03:12 PM
Comcast-TWC: Merger of Equals in Poor Service?
nasimson, I fully agree.  All I see is the opportunity to have a bigger player that delivers poor service - with a market dominance that limits consumer choice. 

But I also agree that the consumer is likely to be the loser because I don't think they will rule against the merger.
nasimson
50%
50%
nasimson,
User Rank: Light Sabre
3/26/2014 | 12:15:52 PM
casualty in this merger
Two losers dont make a winner. Fewer larger media conglomerates is not good for freedom of information and american people at large. So customer service is not the only casualty in this merger.
gconnery
50%
50%
gconnery,
User Rank: Light Sabre
3/25/2014 | 10:12:21 PM
Karma
Seems unlikely this is relevant to the business case, but it would certainly be Karma if the two company's extraordinary inattention to service came back to limit their ability to function as a business.  Appropriate really.
Mitch Wagner
100%
0%
Mitch Wagner,
User Rank: Lightning
3/25/2014 | 5:16:31 PM
Re: Synergies!
I agree. I'm not seeing much of anything here that will dissuade the federal government from approving this merger.
mendyk
0%
100%
mendyk,
User Rank: Light Sabre
3/25/2014 | 4:59:26 PM
Re: Mergers of equals
In the case of what passes for content, it's more like 200 turds, not just two.
FbytF
0%
100%
FbytF,
User Rank: Light Sabre
3/25/2014 | 3:53:03 PM
Mergers of equals
"However, even though the creation of a larger entity would give Comcast more purchasing power with programmers, the company has been quick to say that a deal does not mean its monthly subscription fees would go down" Of course they won't go down, they'll in fact go up. Why? Because they can, that's why. 

Two turds make a pile!
spc_isdnip
100%
0%
spc_isdnip,
User Rank: Lightning
3/25/2014 | 3:41:25 PM
Another day, another service disaster
Comcast doesn't seem to have its act together any more.  Their phone service across our area went out today.  Not outbound calls -- there was dial tone -- but inbound calls all failed.  This took at least four hours to fix, though I don't know when it began.  Back in the day, what telco would have let thousands of lines not be reachable for hours?  Of course the ILECs today have no qualms about that either, noting how Verizontal left a lot of lines in New York City down for several weeks recently (more recently than Sandy), and tried to use it as a sales pitch for FiOS.

They think they save money by diverting service calls to the Phillipines and the like, where low-paid workers read a script about rebooting your PC or sending a reset signal to your cable box.  But it is a farce; it is just poor service.  It was well after I had spent some time on the phone wtih a filipina call center dweeb that they put on a recording saying there was a major service outage in my area.  Sloppy, and a big waste of fmy time.  RCN's phone service is much better.
mendyk
100%
0%
mendyk,
User Rank: Light Sabre
3/25/2014 | 2:58:25 PM
Re: Synergies!
Being stupid isn't a crime (thankful for that), and being less than competent isn't a good enough reason on its own to prevent two businesses from merging.
kq4ym
100%
0%
kq4ym,
User Rank: Light Sabre
3/25/2014 | 2:21:13 PM
Re: Synergies!
Unless a lot of public outcry comes to the FCC regulator's table, it's going to be unlikely a customer dissatisfaction survey will gain much traction to prevent a merger. But, it's certainly ironic that low rated Comcast and TWC hope to join forces to give better service to customers. 
Page 1 / 2   >   >>
From The Founder
Either we perform a complete 'factory reset' on the way the telecom industry creates and deploys virtualization, or we face the consequences.
Flash Poll
Live Streaming Video
Charting the CSP's Future
Six different communications service providers join to debate their visions of the future CSP, following a landmark presentation from AT&T on its massive virtualization efforts and a look back on where the telecom industry has been and where it's going from two industry veterans.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Mobile Operators & Video

4|25|17   |     |   (0) comments


Ovum's Ed Barton discusses the latest mobile operator strategies for mobile video.
LRTV Custom TV
Infinera Introduces Instant Network

4|20|17   |     |   (1) comment


Mike Capuano, vice president of marketing at Infinera, discusses the advancement from Instant Bandwidth to new Instant Network capabilities, which include Bandwidth License Pools, Moveable Licenses and Automated Capacity Engineering (ACE).
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
Vodafone's Eubank on Sponsors, Mentors & Moving On Up

4|19|17   |   4:25   |   (0) comments


Vodafone America's Head of Operations Kimberly Eubank breaks down the difference between a sponsor and a mentor and shares why both made a big difference in her career.
LRTV Custom TV
NYC Auto Show: Are We Smart Yet?

4|18|17   |     |   (0) comments


The auto industry is facing some big transformations as electric vehicles, autonomous technology and connected cars are seen as the future of the industry. During the much-anticipated NY international auto show, there was an emergence of new technology and mobility service on the show floor. Aside from performance, brands like Lincoln, Hyundai, Honda, Mercedes and ...
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
The Impact of Video

4|18|17   |     |   (0) comments


David Mercer from Strategy Analytics discusses the impact of video on current strategies.
LRTV Custom TV
Pardeep Kohli Discusses Network Transformation & the Market Opportunity for the 'New' Mavenir Systems

4|13|17   |     |   (0) comments


In a brief discussion at MWC 2017, Heavy Reading analyst Adi Kishore talks to Pardeep Kohli, CEO, Mavenir Systems about the creation of the 'new Mavenir' and some of the key challenges facing operators in today's market. A key theme of the discussion centers around operator need for software-only, virtualized solutions and how they will need to adapt to ...
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
Tech Maverick Shares Her Tips for Gender Inclusivity

4|12|17   |   7:28   |   (0) comments


Wendy Hall Bohling, a corporate escapee, author and gender exclusivity consultant, tells her story of sexism, bias and progress along the road to gender equality in the workforce.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei at MWC 2017

4|11|17   |     |   (0) comments


At Mobile World Congress 2017, the biggest mobile industry gathering of the year, Huawei showcased its new innovations and solutions with the theme "Open Road," which focuses on cloud, 5G, operation transformation, videos and consumer-oriented products. Its campaign has been recognized by three awards given by GSMA.
LRTV Custom TV
China Telecom NFV Infrastructure on RSD

4|6|17   |     |   (0) comments


Lynn Comp, senior director of market development of Intel, is joined by Chong Zhang, storage engineer at Inspur and Ou Li Yan, architect for technology strategies of China Telecom, for a discussion of what NFV brings.
LRTV Custom TV
Nokia's IMPACT Software Demo

4|6|17   |     |   (0) comments


Khamis Abulgubein of IoT market development at Nokia demonstrates IMPACT (intelligent management platform for all connected things), a software solution with a horizontal approach to managing any device on any application.
LRTV Custom TV
Nokia Introduces Virtual Service Router for More Rapid Service

4|6|17   |     |   (0) comments


James Cumming, product line manager for virtualized service routers at Nokia, demonstrates how the virtual router based off the Nokia ecosystem changes the network function experience.
LRTV Custom TV
The Keys to SD-WAN Success

4|6|17   |     |   (0) comments


Versa Networks CEO Kelly Ahuja talks about the key requirements for service provider-managed SD-WANs.
Upcoming Live Events
May 15-17, 2017, Austin Convention Center, Austin, TX
May 15, 2017, Brazos Hall - Austin, TX
May 15, 2017, Austin Convention Center - Austin, TX
June 6, 2017, The Joule Hotel, Dallas, TX
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
With the mobile ecosystem becoming increasingly vulnerable to security threats, AdaptiveMobile has laid out some of the key considerations for the wireless community.
Hot Topics
Time for a Telecom Reboot
Steve Saunders, CEO and founder, Light Reading, 4/19/2017
Surprise! AT&T Markets 4G Advances as '5G Evolution'
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 4/25/2017
Did Verizon Outbid AT&T for Straight Path?
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 4/25/2017
First Year TIPs the Scale Toward Success
Denise Culver, 4/24/2017
Unlicensed: It's What's Next for US Mobile Operators
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 4/19/2017
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
One of the nice bits of my job (other than the teeny tiny salary, obviously) is that I get to pick and choose who I interview for this slot on the Light Reading home ...
TEOCO Founder and CEO Atul Jain talks to Light Reading Founder and CEO Steve Saunders about the challenges around cost control and service monetization in the mobile and IoT sectors.
Live Digital Audio

Playing it safe can only get you so far. Sometimes the biggest bets have the biggest payouts, and that is true in your career as well. For this radio show, Caroline Chan, general manager of the 5G Infrastructure Division of the Network Platform Group at Intel, will share her own personal story of how she successfully took big bets to build a successful career, as well as offer advice on how you can do the same. We’ll cover everything from how to overcome fear and manage risk, how to be prepared for where technology is going in the future and how to structure your career in a way to ensure you keep progressing. Chan, a seasoned telecom veteran and effective risk taker herself, will also leave plenty of time to answer all your questions live on the air.