In a sign its prepaid trials are expanding, Comcast recently began to sell its pay-as-you-go Internet and TV products in the Detroit area, following up initial prepaid retail efforts in Philadelphia, Delaware and New Jersey.
Comcast offers its prepaid Internet product in most markets now, limiting availability to customers who do not already get services from the operator or otherwise do not qualify for any of its postpaid products. Detroit is the only market where Comcast is testing prepaid TV.
Comcast declined to comment on its latest round of retail activity, but according to a Web page dedicated to its prepaid products, the operator recently added a retail component in the Detroit area.
Employees at two Detroit-area retail outlets also confirmed they have been selling both Comcast’s prepaid Internet and TV products in recent weeks. Comcast has also set up a phone number (855-75-PREPAID) to take and fulfill orders.
An employee at Boulevard Check Cashers in Detroit who did not want to be identifi ed by name said Comcast’s prepaid products are growing in popularity, but noted that the Internet offering is the hotter seller. “There’s a pretty good market for it over here,” he said of Comcast’s prepaid lineup.
Both products share pricing similarities. Comcast’s TV offering features a $69.95 starter kit that includes a digital transport adapter, remote control and 30 days of video service featuring more than 35 channels (but no ESPN).
Customers can refill service for seven days for $15 or 30 days for $45. The Internet service includes a $69.95 starter kit with a DOCSIS 3.0 modem and 30 days of service, and offers refills for $15 for seven days or $45 for 30 days. Speeds are limited to 3 Mbps downstream and 768 Kbps upstream.
Cable’s interest in prepaid follows a successful track record in the mobile world, which saw pay-as-you-go services take off as subscriber levels for post-paid products started slowing down.
In addition to reaching customers who can’t qualify for a post-paid product, these new prepaid offerings can also help operators reach into an untapped market, IBB Consulting principal David Noonan said. “The overall idea is to add to your base without cannibalizing your existing [base].”
Comcast has not yet released any subscriber figures for the trials.