A friend of ours pointed out that his local cable provider, Cablevision, called and offered telephony and broadband service for $14.95 a month for each of those services. Cablevision lists the two services at $29.95 a month each on their website. This aggressive marketing could be just Cablevision trying to steal more market share from Verizon, but it doesn’t make sense to discount the service so steeply.
Add this to the fact that in the fourth quarter of 2006, Comcast added 508,000 telephony customers, a number that was below the 525,000-to-600,000 subscribers Wall Street had estimated. Is it time to raise a little red flag?
Comcast CEO Brian Roberts recently told Bloomberg, “Right now it’s all clicking, the business is on fire.” Maybe something changed in last three months, at least for Comcast, which currently has 1.9 million subscribers, for Roberts to make such bullish comments. Voice-subscriber additions should be the key metric to watch this earnings season. If you are getting aggressive marketing offers from your cable company, please let us know.
12 thoughts on “Is Cable losing its Voice?”
Wow… talk about doing “whatever it takes” to get a piece of the pie. Comcast – heads up!
Aggressive? More like bait and switch offers! That is what Charter did here in STL to me. Now they have all sorts of crazy flyers with crazy prices lower then what they baited me with. I turned them off, and they are trying to rack me with all sorts of crazy charges AFTER I was a customer for over 3 years with them.
I billed them for my time wasted on the issue, and I haven’t heard since. 🙂 Currently on DSL and Dish Network, and I couldn’t be more happy.
Especially since I set up my UStream.tv thing, I know Charter would have said my “unlimited” access is now limited or something like that!
Time Warner Manhattan gave me the digital phone for FREE! No strings attached (so they say). When calling for a new install, I declined the digital phone component of their ‘triple play’. Then the rep said I could have the phone line for free, special promo this month. I told her I didn’t need/want it, but the rep insisted it was absolutely free. I asked the rep if they would be charging me in any way for the service as long as I was a customer, or if this was a ‘free trial’ period where I would be billed later if I didn’t ask for cancellation. After 10 minutes of examination, it looks like they’re just giving it away if you aren’t willing to pay for it. I’ll watch my bills carefully, but it seems like they’re making a land grab…
This is the beginning of a race to the bottom for voice revenue.
Om, I also have Cablevision data and video. Those prices are not available to me and I would imagine that they are only available to non-subscribers in areas where FiOS is being rolled out. I went to Cablevisions website, filled out my details and was told that as a subscriber this offer is not available. Unfortunately, FiOS isn’t available in my city yet, but soon (Verizon, can you hear me now?)
One thing to keep in mind is that Cablevisions offer is targeting DSL customers. DSL customers are used to much lower prices so Cablevision is doing a pretty smart thing in trying to upsell those customers.
Funny you write this, because my wife called the Comcast rep last night to cancel our HBO, and she got hit with all kind of crazy low-price bundling offers. You are right they are super-aggressively trying to sign us up for voice. They made an offer (I hope this is right) that for high speed internet, expanded cable, and voice for $80/mo locked in for a year. Sounds too good to be true??? We wanted to do some research first. I think our bill now after all taxes, etc. is like $130-$140/mo. just for internet and cable. So this savings would be tremendous. The rep make sure we wrote down her name and extension so if we want to sign up, she presumably gets a gold star for closing another deal.
Here’s a question: if you sign up for voice thru Comcast and have a poor service issue on your phone lines, doesn’t Comcast still need SBI/Ameritech to come out and do the repair? Since Comcast doesn’t actually own the copper, or do the work on it? I can imagine the phone company wouldn’t be all that happy to help out a competitor who stole a customer from them. Bottom of the repair queue? I’m sure they’re contractually obligated, but still…
Anyone have Comcast for voice and can comment on the experience, good or bad?
I’m not too surprised by this, and believe it is only a sign of what is going to happen to the cable companies and telcos over the next several years. Their service is just being completely commoditized.
The start of serious internet TV options is going to hit these companies very, very hard. If you read Shelly Palmer’s articles on the transition to Over the Top, you really begin to see that the cable providers will be delivering their own demise over their own wires.
It’s a pretty interesting time, and I’m not sure Net Neutrality will survive it. There’s so much money at stake.
No, Comcast owns the copper – they provide voice over the same HFC plant they use for TV and internet service.
Competitors under UNE-P (Unbundled Network Element Platform) were basically reselling the RBOC service, and thus dependent on the RBOC for repair, but cable voice is different.
DG, thanks, I now understand there’s a box sitting between your port and your phone.
For anyone else curious about the pros/cons of Comcast digital voice, this link has many stories:
Cox in Phoenix has been offering existing Internet/cable customers $100 cash, to try their phone service. Not sure if they are offering it to brand new customers also.
I had their rep call me and practically beg me to try their phone service. I refused cuz I have VoIP, but she insisted that I was refusing free cash. I told her that I would disconnect the phone service soon after mailing the claim for the $100. She was unfazed and said that was quite alright with them! And oh, I got the $100 check within a couple of weeks of mailing the claim – no 8-10 weeks wait times like other mail-in rebate schemes!
The problem for cable voice is that the pie for landline voice is shrinking. For many people, especially single people, why have two phone services when just having a mobile covers all the bases? Let’s see if these cable/Sprint MVNOs ever get off the ground. Perhaps more importantly, is the situation dire enough to make these cos get off their asses and put their WCS and recently acquired AWS spectrum to use? Back in the day, Comcast had their own successful wireless telephony service, but sold it to SBC as a non-strategic asset . . .
This aggressive marketing is part of a “war” that started recently. Verizon against Vonage, cable providers against incumbent telcos and Vodafone crippling VoIP on the Nokia N95 – these are only the last days’ battlefields. Because the margins are shrinking they attack each other.
But phone calls aren’t meant to cost anymore. They will be free very soon. Like emails disappeared the written letter and the payment for the postage stamp. It seems that the standardization of VoIP in SIP has opened a Pandora’s box for all telecommunication companies.
With SIP you can tie every phone system together and make free calls where you didn’t expect it. In my blog I tell you how to circumvent paid phone services on landline and mobile phones.