Triple Play Striking Out With Some Consumers

from the killing-the-golden-goose dept

In recent years, the key to both the cable companies’ and the telcos’ strategy has been to offer the so-called triple play (Data, Video, Voice) to consumers. The assumption has been that consumers want all of these services on one bill, and if they can snag a discount for getting them bundled together that’s even better. One problem with this scenario is that video and voice are bound to become mere subsets of data, so the idea of charging for all three may be difficult as competitors enter the ring. Another problem is that consumers may not even want the bundled product. Users are finding that instead of getting discounts, bills have become more confusing, with providers getting more clever about tacking on surprise charges. Also, it’s difficult to just switch out one part of the bill to a competing company when a better deal presents itself. The telcos love the lock in, but it makes consumers think twice before subscribing to a bundled package. Even the selling point of a unified bill may lose its appeal, as online bill pay and auto withdrawal makes check writing obsolete. A bundled product can work if consumers actually get a better deal, and operators use it to reduce churn. But if they view bundles as a way to milk more money out of captive consumers, they risk killing the strategy they’ve invested so much in.


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Comments on “Triple Play Striking Out With Some Consumers”

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39 Comments
TechTrader (user link) says:

Have I ever told you...

Thank you for calling bullshit on all of the…well…bullshit that is out there today? I get one of these “triple-play” offers a day in the mail that I throw away. Why? Because fricking Comcast wants to charge me $46/mo for internet access that I currently get for less than $20/mo. RCN wants to run my bill up to $100/mo(ish) for items that may not aggregate to that amount. Clearly, this is a “get the low hanging idiot fruits” play. Frankly, I wish I had their initial client list. I have a number of things I’d like to sell them!

Keep up the good work.

Larry K says:

Re: We'll see...

Hi,
I had FIOS installed Dec 7, and received my first bill on Dec 16. The total bill came to $169.24.
1.The bill is organized in a fashion to confuse and mystify even the most savvy consumer.
2.They added charges for services I never ordered.
3.They apply credits in many different areas which can confuse the consumer.
4.They advertise the triple play for $94.99. Nowhere on the bill does it say $94.99.
5.The phone system comes activated with special features (BUSY REDIAL) which they bill extra and call it, a PAY PER USE charge.
6.They say they are comparable to Cablevision Optimum, but there are features that you must pay for such as directory assistance.
I hope this will help any prospective consumers..

Neal (profile) says:

Bundles suck

I moved to the Midwest and got screwed by Qwest. The only way to get their advertised price you have to bundle prices. Regardless I got their DSL which is twice the price of SBCYahoo!DSL and a basic phone service which is $5 more than SBC. Then they added about $20 of taxes to both services. I have to pay the certain taxes twice for both services (ie. Federal Surcharge and connection fee. Correct me if I am mistaken but the DSL data comes through the same line as the phone. Why am I paying twice for one connection. Bastards! I would never bundle because I don’t want to pay more money for a bunch of services I won’t use. My long distance phone card is good enough for me and I don’t need 4 DirecTV hookups in my house. If you bundle you save $5. Woop-dee-doo! But then your paying $120 for 6 months then paying $140 after that. Don’t forget $30 in taxes and surcharges.

Joe T says:

There is no way in hell I am going to give my phone service to Brighthouse on VOIP while they still have bi-weekly scheduled service outages during which data is cut off as they massage their routers in hot oil and pamper them. What if I need to dial 911 during one of them? What if I am in the middle of a phone call when the “scheduled outage” occurs? I love the high speed, but there’s no way in hell I am going to trust them to consistenly give me a dial tone yet. Funny how every company I have worked for – from Tier 1 ISPs to small startups can keep routers going indefinately (short of a hardware failure) but Brighthouse/TW must go down on a regular basis.

sally says:

Re: Use VOIP

Where are you going since SR closed down? I loved it until it disappeared….and have to choose new service quickly.

Sally

Use VOIP by Allen on Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 8:33am
I think you have to really lack savvy as a consumer if you subscribe these packages. My most expensive bill is with my basic cable and internet are about $78/mo. I’m using Sunrocket VOIP, which I paid $199 for 1 yr up front. I could go DSL to be cheaper, but cable is much faster in my experience.

(reply to this comment) (link to this comment)

Adam says:

Home town Cable Companies ROCK!!

I live in an area that is dominated by two lousy providers known as Verizon(telco) and Adelphia(cable). Adelphia offers these stupid bundles to their customers and not only do the costs rise, but the customers also get low QOS. Thankfully I live outside of the city/metro area out in the “sticks”. I live on a quiet country road with neighbors as close as a 1/4 mile away and just recently the local cable co. (which will remain unnamed) updated its infrastructure to all FIBER and ran lines down my quiet country road. I am not locked into anything, I do watch TV so I have Basic service and I have 3Mbps x 3Mbps Internet service. I am using VoIP through Packet8 and I absolutely love it.

Verizon, at least in this area, does not yet provide the services seen in larger cities, therefore, the only bundles they have are for phone and DSL nothing else. FIOS is not available here yet so there is no bundle as mentioned in the article. Verizon just sucks anyway, especially around here cuz they know they have a stranglehold on the area and they know that we(the customers) can do nothing about it. Except for those of us with reliable cable connections that use Vonage, Packet8, etc.

You all can have the mainstream providers. I’ll take the local folks any day of the week. I have not had any downtime since I signed up last August. If I do have a problem, a knowledgeable tech that speaks english (no hard-to-understand techs! πŸ™‚ ) gets back to me within an hour and tells me what my problem is and also provides me with a resolution. On top of all this first-class customer service, the QOS and sheer speed is unbelievable!! Translation….. If you have the ability to switch to someone other than mainstream, DO IT!!! πŸ™‚

Adam says:

Home town Cable Companies ROCK!!

I live in an area that is dominated by two lousy providers known as Verizon(telco) and Adelphia(cable). Adelphia offers these stupid bundles to their customers and not only do the costs rise, but the customers also get low QOS. Thankfully I live outside of the city/metro area out in the “sticks”. I live on a quiet country road with neighbors as close as a 1/4 mile away and just recently the local cable co. (which will remain unnamed) updated its infrastructure to all FIBER and ran lines down my quiet country road. I am not locked into anything, I do watch TV so I have Basic service and I have 3Mbps x 3Mbps Internet service. I am using VoIP through Packet8 and I absolutely love it.

Verizon, at least in this area, does not yet provide the services seen in larger cities, therefore, the only bundles they have are for phone and DSL nothing else. FIOS is not available here yet so there is no bundle as mentioned in the article. Verizon just sucks anyway, especially around here cuz they know they have a stranglehold on the area and they know that we(the customers) can do nothing about it. Except for those of us with reliable cable connections that use Vonage, Packet8, etc.

You all can have the mainstream providers. I’ll take the local folks any day of the week. I have not had any downtime since I signed up last August. If I do have a problem, a knowledgeable tech that speaks english (no hard-to-understand techs! πŸ™‚ ) gets back to me within an hour and tells me what my problem is and also provides me with a resolution. On top of all this first-class customer service, the QOS and sheer speed is unbelievable!! Translation….. If you have the ability to switch to someone other than mainstream, DO IT!!! πŸ™‚

Tin Ear (user link) says:

I prefer a simple connection...

A few years ago, I subscribed to a cable company’s service in Montana. I had specifically told the company representative that I was interested ONLY in a data connection. The man came out and hooked me up. He tested my new cable connection and found that my signal was ‘too hot’, meaning ‘too good’ to me, and put a step-down splitter in line. Then he hooked my computer up and configured it to the system and I was up and running faster than I had ever done in the past. That evening after a major browsing of the internet, I retired to my easy chair and took a look at my television. Then I looked at the cable that came into the house right next to it. “Hmmm!”. I got a piece of cable patch cord and hooked it to the tube. Wow! 12 channels, clear as a bell!! I then transferred the cable to the back of my VCR and Voila! 55 channels of TV, HBO included!!! All for less than $30 a month. I had a cell phone at the time that cost me a flat rate of $50/mo that had no connection with the cable company. I was really quite pleased with the arrangement. If I had gotten the ‘bundle’, I would have been paying about $125 in total. I think I got the better end of that deal.

Mark says:

Less for More $$$

Verizon tried bundling around here.

I pay ~$30 (with taxes, $25 without taxes) for local phone service.

Verizon keeps hounding me to signup for:

Local service+Bundled features+Long Distance=$30

So what your thinking your adding/getting “features” and a simple long distance plan for and extra “$5” a month in reality your getting billed for:

$25 Local service

$30 Features

$5 Long Distance

————————-

$60 a month bill

Cable/phone/whatever companys NEVER offer anything that ends up costing YOU LESS MONEY.

Steve in NJ says:

Better to stay away from bundled

I have Sprint and I got rid of there bundled servies. Why pay for a landline phone and a cell phone? Actually I am paying less in the long run by not bundling. The only thing I hate is I still have to pay $7.55 for just having a telephone line.

All bundling does is have you pay more for services you don’t need or want. Why pay for something if your never going to use it? The new company Enbarq, the landline business that Sprint spun off, I hope will make some changes.

Maureen says:

Re: triple plays in nj and ny

I’m reading all of these blogs about bundled service but no feedback from women. I guess men are really more interested in a triple play bundle than women. Interesting. Are any women interested in this bundle?? I live in Sprint territory and got their triple play offer — it sucks. It would cost me more to bundle dsl, voice and my Dish network than leaving them all separate. duh.

sounds like FIOS is the way to go when it’s available in your neighborhood. Too bad I live so far out that it will be 2020 by the time I get it.

alain in Paris France says:

real triple play for less than 30$/month

That’s what I get in France. High speed internet, cable-like tv and telephone…. Calling is even free as long it is not a cell phone, calling the US and many other countries is free too…. You also have couple nice things like a voicemail system that send you notification emails with the audio file attached!

I just love it!

colleen rayburn says:

triple play from Verizon

what a mess…they gave me the movie channels for free the first three months..i didn’t want them…they said well it will credit them off each month..didn’t happen..they showed a credit but when i called in and had one of their people look at it..she said the credits are there but they arn’t being deducted from the total. so she said i had a credit coming..didn’t get it on my next bill..they initially told me $106.00 a month for all three..my bills have been over $2oo.oo each time like $260.00 this last month ..it is really maddening..i told them i didn’t want the movie channels and now after the three month free they are still billing me for those channels that I didn’t want in the first place..i am thinking of going back to charter, it can;t cost any MORE!!!!!!!

Ed says:

High speed do or dont?

1st off a lot of people here are comparing apples to oranges in their product and pricing. for those that dont really need much more than a tv ant. then this is not for them cheaper is old tv with ant. and basic phone with calling card, and dial up is better today than yesterday.
Those that need fios which hands down is the fastest speed internet out here today are the techs and graphics people either for pleasure (gamers) and work (such as photographers and video goers) and they can bundle up and get their phone and now tv from the same source, prices are competitive for you have more than 1 company handing out fiber optics service.
That being said My Phone bill is anywhere from 40 to 90 a month and basic digital cable with all hbo chanells is 90 a month and my interent is 33 a month so if you do the math it is cheaper to bundle, and all of these companies charge a lot for little and little for a lot more if you look at the costs/over the pkgs offered.
Verizon has just put fios in my neighborhod 95 a month gets me phone local and long distance, hd signal, 220 or 250 chanells basic, and real high speed internet, again this is the basic. What they give you is a wireless router, set top boxes, a battery backup with the fios box, a free 19″ hdtv or $200 best buy gift card, and that is all inclided in the installation which is about 6 to 8 hrs with 1 or 2 guys doing the install.
Like they say “the art of the deal is in the negotiation”
and people today forget to negotiate or just plain forgot how to but i got a lot asking and pushing a lot to get where i want to.
Remember almost all of us have to pay taxes and we cant change that but we can change other things.
Something to think about !!!!
just my 2cents

Ed

Marty says:

Comcast TriplePlay

I had no choice but go with Comcast in my area.

I had Dish, SBC Land Line, SBC DSL. I waited 2 years for SBC to enable DSL in my subdivision. And then I could only get 384 Mbps. Then my Dish TV stopped working because the trees had overgrown my only view to the Satellites. (I live in a heavly wooded area)

I had gotten flyers in the mail from Comcast saying they had Internet access in my area and I jumped on it. I dumped SBC (now AT&T) and Satellite and Got the TriplePlay.

I was paying around $70 for Land Line & DSL, no long distance calling, and $70 for Satellite for around $140 a month total.

I am paying around $150 a month for Comcast TriplePlay. With that I got two HD recievers and two SD recievers. Fast Internet Access and VOIP full service with more features than I had before such as long distance and caller ID.

So far I am happy with Comcast TriplePlay and $150 a month is good since there is no competition that can touch the cost in my area.

One Con to using Comcast: The support, if or when you need it. Luckly, I have only had to call once.

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