When Verizon Wireless announced its plan to co-market its services with those of several of the nation’s largest cable companies, some saw it as a retreat by parent company Verizon from the landline broadband market. But as announcements today from Verizon Wireless and Comcast remind us, those co-marketing efforts to date have gone in a different direction. Instead of competing with Verizon’s own landline broadband offerings, Verizon and its partners are focusing on markets where Verizon is not the incumbent landline carrier.
Today’s announcement involves new promotions that will give customers a Visa prepaid card valued at as much as $300 for signing up for cross-platform bundles and adds six new markets where Verizon and Comcast will co-market one another’s services. The new markets include Atlanta; Chicago; Kansas City, Mo.; Minneapolis-St. Paul; and Salt Lake City, as well as the most populated areas of Colorado—markets in which either AT&T or CenturyLink is the main incumbent landline provider.
The new promotions also will be available in Portland, Ore.; San Francisco; Seattle and Spokane—four markets where Verizon and Comcast previously announced co-marketing agreements and where someone other than Verizon is the incumbent.
The value of the prepaid card that customers can receive varies depending on the size of the bundle that the customer agrees to purchase. To earn the $300 card, customers must sign up for one of the top four of five Comcast triple play tiers and commit to a two-year contract, as well as committing to two years of Verizon Wireless mobile data service. The $200 card goes to people committing to two years of Comcast’s lowest-tier triple play offering along with Verizon mobile data, and the $100 card goes to people who commit to a Comcast double play of data and video service as well as Verizon mobile data.
It appears that existing Comcast customers are eligible for the promotion if they commit to two more years of service. Verizon Wireless customers also are eligible if they “add a new line of service to their existing account or are eligible for a device upgrade.”
As part of the promotion, Verizon Wireless customers also can get 4 GB of data for the price of 2 GB with any new 4G LTE smartphone and customers selecting Comcast’s Xfinity data offering get a free 12-month upgrade to the cable company’s Blast! Offering, which provides download speeds of up to 30 Mbps.
“Comcast continues to deliver exceptional entertainment and communications services and the Verizon Wireless 4G LTE network is the ideal complement to complete the package,” said Melanie Braidich, regional president for Verizon Wireless, in an announcement today about the promotions for the Colorado market.
Verizon Wireless also recently announced co-marketing plans with Time Warner in several markets, including Cincinnati; Columbus, Ohio; Dayton, Ohio; Kansas City, Kan.; Raleigh, N.C.; and Toledo. Most of these are in AT&T’s local service area.
Regulators are still reviewing plans by Verizon Wireless to acquire spectrum from the cable companies and as part of that process, the regulators are also looking at the co-marketing agreements. But Verizon and its cable partners insist that the co-marketing agreements do not require any regulatory approval and that they will continue whether or not the spectrum deal is approved.
Seems like AT&T and CenturyLink must be getting more than a little nervous by now.