Competition keeps competitors honest. That’s what they are finding out in the Pittsburgh market. The local newspaper, the Pittsburgh Gazette, is running a feature that outlines how customers are taking advantage of the pitched battle between Comcast and newly arrived Verizon FiOS. In one instance, a threat to leave Comcast for FiOS resulted in a cable bill being reduced from $90/month to $46/month with new add on features including a HD DVR. Not a bad deal if you can get it.
This real world example demonstrates the real winners in competition – consumers. Smart consumers will play one competitor off of another to get the best deal. These types of opportunities will only increase as Verizon, AT&T, and others begin to ramp up their triple play bundles across wide footprints. As the Pittsburgh Gazette’s feature pointed out, every one won’t be so lucky. It almost appears as if your best deal is dependant on the aggressiveness of the customer service rep at that moment. Makes you wonder how service providers are training CSRs. I suspect it depends on the general manager for that region and the competitive pressures he/she is facing. You also wonder about the impact of these pressures on ARPU. Triple play is always cheered as having a positive impact on ARPU. But as competitors move in, ARPU is sure to suffer. After all going from $90 to $46 helps keep the customer, but certainly doesn’t look great on a financial statement.