& 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
NFV's promises of automation and virtualization are intriguing, but what really excites service providers is the massive amount of money they could save.
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.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
AT&T's Tech President Preps Workforce for the Future

7|26|17   |   5:47   |   (6) comments


AT&T is focused on the software-defined network of the future and is reskilling its workforce to get ready too, according to AT&T's President of Technology Development Melissa Arnoldi.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
Cisco: Mentoring Critical to Attract & Retain Women

7|19|17   |   6:40   |   (1) comment


Liz Centoni, senior vice president and general manager of Cisco's Computing System Product Group, shares why mentoring in all its forms is important for women and what Cisco is doing that's made a difference for women in tech.
LRTV Custom TV
Gigabit LTE With Snapdragon 835

7|12|17   |     |   (1) comment


At an event in Wembley stadium, EE used its live network to demonstrate gigabit LTE using a Sony Xperia XZ Premium smartphone with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 chip.
LRTV Custom TV
Implementing Machine Intelligence With Guavus

7|12|17   |     |   (0) comments


Guavus unites big data and machine intelligence, enabling many of the the largest service providers in the world to save money and drive measureable revenue. Learn how applying Machine Intelligence substantially reduces operational costs and in many cases can eliminate subscriber impact, meaning a better subscriber experience and higher NPS.
LRTV Custom TV
Unlocking Customer Experience Insights With Machine Intelligence

7|12|17   |     |   (0) comments


When used to analyze operational data and to drive operational decisions, machine intelligence reduces the number of tasks which require human intervention. Guavus invested in Machine Intelligence early. Learn about the difference between Machine Learning and Machine Intelligence.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
Verizon VP Talks Network, Career Planning

7|12|17   |   4:49   |   (0) comments


Heidi Hemmer, vice president of Technology, Strategy & Planning at Verizon, shares how bold bets and the future of tech define her career.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
Masergy's NFV Journey

7|11|17   |     |   (0) comments


Ray Watson, vice president of global technology at Masergy, discusses the advantages and challenges in entering the still-maturing NFV market for the past three years.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
Mavenir on RCS Cloud Platform & Multi-ID

7|10|17   |     |   (0) comments


Guillaume Le Mener, head of marketing and corporate development at Mavenir, discussed RCS and the recent launch of Multi-ID, which supports T-Mobile's DIGITS, the revolutionary new technology that breaks down the limitation of one number per phone and one phone per number.
LRTV Custom TV
ADTRAN Executive Outlines Trends in Next-Generation 10-Gigabit Cable Networks

7|10|17   |     |   (0) comments


Hossam Salib, VP of Cable and Wireless Strategy at ADTRAN, outlines key trends as MSOs begin to deploy next-generation Gigabit and 10-Gigabit cable networks. In the interview, Hossam outlines the advantages of a Fiber Deep architecture, FTTH options including EPON and RFoG, and the importance of SDN and NFV in building next-generation high-bandwidth cable networks.
LRTV Interviews
Global Capacity: Bandwidth Demand Driving Ethernet Growth

7|6|17   |   6:37   |   (0) comments


At Light Reading's Big Communications Event in Austin, Texas, Global Capacity's VP of Marketing Mary Stanhope talks about how the demand for bandwidth is changing the way service providers deliver broadband services.
LRTV Interviews
Colt's Services Chief on Digital Delivery

7|5|17   |   16:12   |   (0) comments


Rogier Bronsgeest, the chief customer experience officer (chief CEO!) at Colt, discusses the way in which the service provider interacts with its customers these days and his aggressive net promoter score (NPS) targets.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
BT VP: Women Should Fill Security Talent Gap

7|5|17   |   6:00   |   (2) comments


By 2020 there will be six security jobs for every qualified worker, and Kate Kuehn, vice president of Security for BT in the Americas, says BT wants to encourage women to fill the shortage in jobs.
Upcoming Live Events
September 28, 2017, Denver, CO
October 18, 2017, Colorado Convention Center - Denver, CO
November 1, 2017, The Royal Garden Hotel
November 1, 2017, The Montcalm Marble Arch
November 2, 2017, 8 Northumberland Avenue, London, UK
November 30, 2017, The Westin Times Square
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
NFV, SDN, Big Data – It's All About Automation
Craig Matsumoto, Editor-in-Chief, Light Reading, 7/21/2017
AT&T's Tech President Preps Workforce for the Future
Kelsey Kusterer Ziser, Editor, 7/26/2017
What's a Little Throttling Between Friends?
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 7/24/2017
The Hidden (Human) Cost of Automation
Steve Saunders, CEO and founder, Light Reading, 7/26/2017
BBC Head: We Must Reinvent Broadcasting for a New Generation
Aditya Kishore, Practice Leader, Video Transformation, Telco Transformation, 7/21/2017
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Following a recent board meeting, the New IP Agency (NIA) has a new strategy to help accelerate the adoption of NFV capabilities, explains the Agency's Founder and Secretary, Steve Saunders.
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 ...
Animals with Phones
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.