Taking aim at the “unbanked” and other consumers who don’t qualify for or need post-paid services, Verizon Fios has joined a small but growing mix of TV and broadband providers to offer a pre-paid option.
However, Verizon’s new offering, Fios Prepaid, covers the full triple-play of TV, high-speed Internet and home phone service, and is free of credit checks, deposits, annual contracts, and the need to pay by credit card. Prepaid pricing will also include the required equipment for services.
Verizon will let prepaid customers pay online, with a debit card, or make cash payments at kiosks being set up at Verizon Wireless stores.
By service type, here’s how Verizon Fios Prepaid pricing stacks up:
-Internet: $60 per month for 25 Mbps (upstream and downstream), with a WiFi router included
-Custom TV: $40 to $50 per month for a lineup of 155-plus channels, with one set-top box included. A Mundo package with 200-plus channels, including a 35 HD Spanish-language channels is another $40 per month. Per the FAQ, Prepaid Fios TV customers can pay more to add a DVR, multi-room DVR and additional set-top boxes (up to four per address). Prepaid Fios TV customers will also have access to the service’s library of free VOD programming, but won’t have access to any paid VOD movies or pay-per-view content.
-Phone: Prepaid subs can add home phone service for an additional $10 per month.
Verizon is also selling Prepaid Fios bundles -- triple play for $110/$120 per month; Internet and TV for $100/$110 per month; and Internet and voice for $70 per month.
Verizon is charging $90 for installation to prepaid subs, along with a free self-installation option.
Fios Prepaid is currently available to consumers at Fios-capable addresses, including New York Metro, Albany, Buffalo, and Syracuse, N.Y.; Philadelphia Metro, Pittsburgh, and Harrisburg, Pa.; Washington DC Metro; Northern Virginia; Maryland; Norfolk; Richmond; parts of the Boston Metro area; New Jersey; Rhode Island; and Delaware.
Following a lengthy trial period, Comcast has launched prepaid Internet and TV services in select markets, including Illinois, Michigan, Georgia, Florida and Indiana, with plans to expand access to its entire footprint by the end of 2017.
Comcast’s TV Prepaid Starter Kit, which includes 30 days of service, runs $80. Customers can refill TV service for seven days for $15, or $45 for three day (the MSO also pitches a TV Prepaid Latino add-on-package) Comcast’s Starter Kit for Prepaid Internet service, which offers up to 10 Mbps and includes a wireless gateway, also costs $80, and $15 for a seven-day refill, and $45 for a 30-day refill.
Frontier Communications has also tried out a prepaid option for Internet service that does not appear to be active currently.
Verizon will be looking for the new prepaid options to drive in new subs without cannibalizing its post-paid base. Verizon added 68,000 Fios Internet subs and 21,000 Fios video customers in Q4 2016, ending the year with 5.7 million Fios Internet connections and 4.7 million Fios video connections. Verizon also added 13,000 Fios digital voice residential connections in Q4 2016.
“Fios Prepaid offers a new way to experience Fios for customers seeking payment flexibility,” said Susan Retta, VP of consumer marketing at Verizon, in a statement. “From students to snowbirds, consumers are looking for service and options on their terms. For those with little or no credit history, Fios Prepaid offers 100% fiber-optic quality Internet featuring upload speeds as fast as download speeds, and crystal-clear TV service with no annual contract, deposit or credit check required—it doesn’t get any easier to join the Fios family.”