As Verizon's FiOS TV rollout slows, look for wireless phone in its bundled service package
Wake up and good morning. Did Verizon's FiOS TV service -- promoted as "This is FiOS. This is Big" -- just slip out of the fast lane? The Wall Street Journal reports net new additions nationwide for the FiOS TV service amounted to only 191,000, down from 300,000 in the second quarter and the lowest since the second quarter of last year. Says the Journal:
"Extrapolating from one quarter is tricky. Annualized, though, the quarterly growth fell well short of the rate Verizon would need to meet its target of one million new FiOS customers a year."
Verizon, the newspaper reported, blamed the slowdown on marketing campaigns that didn't work. Still, the worry is FiOS's growth already is slowing, as the network's rollout nears its end. What isn't clear is whether Verizon can hit growth targets without overspending on marketing, the Journal notes. Here's the full story.
However, don't count Verizon out quite yet. The telecom giant recently unveiled plans to offer for the first time a bundled package of services that includes the traditional "tripe play" of home phone, high speed Internet access and TV service(FiOS where available -- still not in big chunks of lower Pinellas County -- or Direct TV satellite service) and now Verizon wireless (cell phone) service. Here's Verizon's description of its "quad-play" service.
Don't look for it in Tampa Bay just yet. Verizon's introducing the quartet of bundled services in its eastern region, including New York, Virginia and Delaware. Customers will save between $59 and $179 per year, the company said. New subscribers to most of the bundles will also receive a $150 Visa prepaid card or three months of high-speed Internet service.
So how much does it cost? Basic packages for four services are $134.99 per month on Verizon’s FiOS network and $124.99 for subscribers served by the company’s older network, Bloomberg News reports. Here's the full story.
Why does this matter? Because in the Tampa Bay area, Verizon and Bright House Networks are competing toe to toe with three bundled services: home phone, Internet access and TV service. If and when Verizon offers its Verizon wireless cell phone service as a fourth and discounted leg of bundled services, the company may have a major competitive advantage over Bright House. Bright House has indicated to me in the past it is exploring options for a wireless phone service -- probably some type of partnering deal with an existing provider -- but there's nothing new to report on that front.
Verizon spokesman Bob Elek said a Verizon wireless component in a bundled service package for Tampa Bay is likely in the first half of 2010.
-- Robert Trigaux, Times Business Columnist