Comcast and Time Warner Cable announced today that they have extended their co-marketing agreements with Verizon Wireless to several additional markets – and once again the companies have steered clear of markets where Verizon Wireless’s co-owner Verizon is the incumbent landline carrier.
Verizon Wireless and Time Warner Cable added markets in Nebraska, where CenturyLink is a major provider, and seven cities in Maine, including some that were previously Verizon markets but which Verizon sold to Fairpoint several years ago. The partners already have co-marketing agreements in certain markets in Alabama, Kansas, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina and Wisconsin.
Comcast and Verizon Wireless added markets throughout Florida, where AT&T is a major incumbent landline service provider. The two companies already have similar agreements in markets in Alabama, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah and Washington.
The co-marketing agreements announced today are quite similar to previously announced co-marketing agreements between Verizon Wireless and the cable companies. The agreement with Comcast enables customers to get Visa prepaid cards valued at up to $300 and certain discounts for purchasing bundled services that include video, voice and/or Internet from Comcast packaged with wireless service from Verizon Wireless.
The Time Warner deals are similar except that the Visa prepaid cards customers can earn are valued at no more than $200.
Verizon Wireless and the cable companies announced their plans to market one another’s services late last year at the same time that Verizon Wireless announced plans to purchase spectrum from the cable companies.
Although the spectrum deal is still under review by regulators, the companies insist that they do not need any regulatory approvals for the marketing agreements and have moved ahead quite aggressively with them. Nevertheless a range of industry and consumer groups have had harsh criticism for the marketing agreements and have urged regulators to scrutinize them and even to impost certain conditions on them. Recently, for example, Sprint and other stakeholders have expressed concern that the Verizon- cable company agreements could negatively impact the mobile backhaul market.
UPDATE: Later today, Comcast and Verizon Wireless announced additional co-marketing agreements in Tucson, as well as several New Mexico markets, including Albuquerque, Santa Fe and Las Cruces. These markets also are primarily served by AT&T and CenturyLink on the landline side.