Comcast expects to start rolling out various packages with Verizon Wireless in four markets early next year (see Smit: Comcast Will Keep Clearwire Stake and Comcast, TWC And BHN Sell Spectrum To Verizon Wireless For $3.6 Billion).
“The teams are already engaged; they are great commercial arrangements and we think we’ve put together great packages that combine the best of the various bundles,” [Comcast Cable CEO Neil] Smit said. He added that the offerings don’t necessarily have to be a quad-play of wireless, video, voice and data, but could be a triple play with three of those four products or home security.
Customer-Service Rep: Hi! Thanks for calling Comcast. Are you interested in adding some wireless devices and services to your Xfinity triple-play?
Customer: What? I’m calling the cable company, right?
CSR: Yes indeedy. We have a new deal with Verizon Wireless, through which Comcast customers can take advantage of some exciting new offers.
Customer: Why would I want to buy those services through Comcast?
CSR: Convenience. We now offer all your communications and entertainment services — from one place.
Customer: Except Verizon Wireless is providing the wireless. Who do I call if I have a problem?
CSR: We’ll route your call appropriately, not to worry.
Customer: Wait a second. Didn’t you guys try this a couple of years ago with Sprint? That Pivot thing?
CSR: Yeah, but that was different. Sprint was really inflexible on the plans we could offer, and they had trouble getting service activated. Plus, the phones were lame.
Customer: But I’m still confused. Aren’t you guys competitors with Verizon? How come you’re suddenly pals?
CSR: You’re thinking of Verizon Telecom. Verizon Wireless is a separate entity, 55% owned by Verizon Communications and 45% by Vodafone. Obviously we don’t compete with the wireless guys. Also, they are paying us beaucoup bucks for some wireless spectrum that we’ve just been sitting on for five years.
Customer: Right. Well, it sounds OK — except I already have service from [Verizon Wireless, AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile] and I’m in the middle of a two-year contract. Will you pay my early-termination fee?
CSR: Hmmm. Let me check on that…
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