Ho, Ho, Ho, Buy Our Phone: Cox

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Cox Communications Inc. in Orange County, Calif., took advantage of the holiday advertising noise to trumpet its telephone product in daily ads, luring potential consumers with free service.

Competing providers, such as AT&T Corp., were touting their ability to deliver both local and long distance service, so Cox advertised its capabilities, too.

In one newspaper ad, the MSO urged consumers to "enjoy your holidays with free California calling." Readers who responded could get free in-state calling for three months. The first phone line is $9.99, plus installation. A second line is priced at $4.99.

Consumers who transfer their number from another carrier had to pay a one-time fee of $10.

The cluster also promoted its bundles, touting the fact that consumers could save $15 per month by buying digital video, telephone and high-speed data service from Cox.

The savings were offered in the form of free cable-modem rental (valued at $15); free digital gateway service, including the modem; a free premium service (HBO, Cinemax, Showtime or Starz!); or $10 off the bill for the complete bundle.

A system spokesperson said the cluster often offers similar discounts, but the Christmas campaign represented a new approach in its advertising creative.

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