Comcast/Verizon Combo Steers Clear of FiOS



Verizon Wireless and Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) have extended their wireless/cable service bundles to six more markets as they look to poach customers with incentives laced with broadband upgrades and bigger Long Term Evolution (LTE) data plans.

But the pair continues to steer away from FiOS markets in the early going. Three of the new cable/wireless bundle markets (Atlanta, Chicago and Kansas City, Mo.) are in AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) territory, while the other three (Colorado, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minn.; and Salt Lake City, Utah) are in areas where Comcast grapples with CenturyLink Inc. (NYSE: CTL).

Comcast and Verizon are again using prepaid Visa cards (valued between $50 and $300) to attract new customers. But they're looking to sweeten the pot by adding a "double your data package" component that lets customers upgrade to Comcast's Blast! cable modem tier (up to 30Mbit/s downstream) free for 12 months and to double Verizon Wireless's LTE data plan, which, for example, would let a customer on the $30/2GB plan expand the monthly data cap to 4GB. (See Verizon Doubles Up on LTE.)

With the new launches, Comcast and Verizon Wireless now offer cable/wireless bundles in nine markets, following earlier debuts in Portland, Ore.; San Francisco; and Seattle. Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC), another Verizon Wireless partner, has launched similar bundles in five markets (Raleigh, N.C.; Kansas City, Kan.; and Columbus, Cincinnati and Toledo, Ohio) that are all in AT&T U-verse markets. Bright House Networks and Cox Communications Inc. , the other two Verizon Wireless MSO partners, have yet to introduce their bundles.

Why this matters
The launches are coming into view as the feds review Verizon Wireless's proposed purchase of cable's Advanced Wireless Services (AWS) spectrum. Verizon Wireless has also proposed to auction off some of its 700MHz spectrum if the AWS/cable deal gets approved.

Despite avoiding FiOS markets early on, Verizon Wireless and its cable partners also insist that they will compete vigorously for video and broadband subscribers. Comcast competes with FiOS in areas such as Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Washington and Boston.

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— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable

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