Verizon Kills Cable Contracts As TV Sector Finally Starts Listening To Cord Cutters. Kind Of.

from the the-customer-is-always-right dept

Remember cord cutting? The trend that cable and broadcast execs and countless sector analysts spent years claiming either wasn't real, didn't matter, or would most certainly end once Millennials started procreating? It set records in 2019, and despite some wishful thinking among cable TV executives, there's no real sign that the trend is going anywhere thanks to the continued rise of new streaming services.

While many cable companies have simply doubled down on the behavior that brought them to this point (price hikes and comically terrible customer service), there are some indications that other companies are finally starting to listen. Like Verizon, which last week introduced a number of new internet and cable TV packages that eliminate the long-term contract entirely, and at least make a fleeting effort to cut down on hidden fees:

"Customers don’t want to be forced into bundles and contracts. They don’t want surprises on their bill at the end of the month,” said Frank Boulben, SVP of consumer marketing and products at Verizon."

Yes, incredible insight. Under Verizon’s new "mix and match" plans, users can subscribe to three FiOS broadband options: 100 Mbps for $40 per month, 300 Mbps for $60 per month, and a gigabit connection for $80 per month. It's also offering a number of cheaper ($50 and $75) options for cable TV, as well as bundling in YouTube's Live YouTube TV service for $50 a month for those interested.

Verizon is, in effect, getting rid of both contracts and contract promotions, shifting more toward advertising the actual price, something consumers have been bitching about for the better part of two decades. Of course Verizon wouldn't be Verizon without at least a dash of disingenuous nonsense and hypocrisy, such as claiming you're getting rid of annoying fees before saddling your users with... annoying fees:

"Verizon’s new option includes a $12 per month set top box rental fee and a $15 per month router fee for some subscribers, tacking an extra $27 on to the final bill. Users also have to sign up for autopay and paperless billing to take advantage of the offers."

The new offers also seem geared largely to lure in new customers. Existing customers, like Ars Technica's Jon Brodkin, tried to sign up for the new options only to find he wasn't allowed to sign up for them at all. Even if he had been able to get the new bundles, he found that the final offering would have not only come with obnoxious fees (like Verizon's misleading "broadcast TV fee," the final bill would have been higher than what he was already paying Verizon under his existing subscription.

So on one hand it's nice to at least seem companies like Verizon acknowledge that they should start listening to consumers, even if the end product of that revelation still leaves much to be desired.

Filed Under: cable contracts, cord cutting, tv
Companies: verizon


Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread


  • icon
    Ninja (profile), 17 Jan 2020 @ 4:39am

    They seem to think people are still boomers who don't pay attention to what they are spending money with and are incapable of doing simple economic analysis.

    At the very least they recognized cord cutting is a thing. Even if the solution proposed is more of the same.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 17 Jan 2020 @ 8:17am

      Re:

      "They seem to think people are still boomers who don't pay attention to what they are spending money with and are incapable of doing simple economic analysis."

      I know several people that are within the age range of that stereotype and they are fully capable of keeping track of money spent, in addition to being capable of simple economic analysis.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 Jan 2020 @ 6:02am

    100 Mbps for $40 per month, 300 Mbps for $60 per month, and a gigabit connection for $80 per month

    Heh, how do you like my 30€ per month for 400 Mbps? Better come to the EU, we also have no cookies!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 17 Jan 2020 @ 7:01am

      Re:

      or my 1gbit/s + phone (no call costs) + cable tv and 2 optional channel packages for €44 / month

      I would detest living in the USA

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        tubes (profile), 17 Jan 2020 @ 8:47am

        Re: Re:

        Not all of the US is that bad. The community I live in installed their own fiber service. I never want to move from the city now. $75 for 1gbit/s flat no extra fees. All included hardware (modem & backup power)

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 Jan 2020 @ 6:03am

    I first read the title as "Verizon Kills Cable Contractors" and thought Verizon had lost their creativity and slipped in to mundane criminal behavior.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 Jan 2020 @ 7:11am

    "comically terrible customer service"

    Nothing really comical about it. Isn't it more like a graphic novel?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    The Dillon Ross Group (profile), 17 Jan 2020 @ 9:39am

    Interesting Read

    I really enjoyed this article! Thanks for publishing it. I am looking forward to reading more of your work.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    JR (profile), 17 Jan 2020 @ 9:55am

    Give credit where due

    I actually was able to take advantage of this new plan and cut the cord. Previously, I had a gigiabit plan and single cable box with a few channels and it was costing me $128 per month since the initial discounts had expired. I own my router and was only paying the $12 fee for the cable box. I was able to switch to the new plan with gigabit only, no tv package and buy the newest router separately for $300 (not bad for a WIFI6 router). My new bill is $80 per month. Yes Verizon sucks and the website didn't let me do this but I'm happy with the new situation and no contract.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 Jan 2020 @ 11:40am

    The same thing occurred when cell phone providers switched to contract free. Cell phone prices jumped up as did the carrier fees. As such it wasn't a win for consumers.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    ECA (profile), 17 Jan 2020 @ 11:51am

    50 year old tech

    Some of this leads back along way.
    The Old tech thats been around along time, and still works with your TV.
    Finding out that 1/2 of the programming you wanted is FREEEEE.

    the First time you goto a friends home and see Some strange programs you cant get on your Own TV, and ask Which cable corp are they with. And they take you out and show you $100 worth of tech, thats so old tech its strange.
    Then comes the HOA, and demands you take it down and you send them a bill for your new cable..aas they are forcing you to Use something that costs 100 times more then FREE Broadcasts.

    And still.
    Is there anyone that can show us all the pricing that Cable charges for their service to broadcasters? We know Cable Pays the bigger broadcasters, but I cant see all those channels being paid for by broadcasters. I would think Some, at least a few, are Paying to be on the system.

    And I Love it when Sat dishes tell us they get Local broadcasts, and you have this Cheap Builtin Antenna, that cant get 50 miles coverage. And gets PBS, and a few locals...NOT the 50+ channels that are available..

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 18 Jan 2020 @ 2:21pm

      Re: 50 year old tech

      Digital OTA isn't "50 year old tech". Its analogue predecessor, on the other hand, has been around since the late 1930's... and the correct antennas are often the same today as they were when 82-channel tuners were first offered in 1952.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        ECA (profile), 20 Jan 2020 @ 12:19pm

        Re: Re: 50 year old tech

        what became a real problem, is Digital, on an analog signal.
        The power needed and the amount of data sent is HUGE..
        There are still smaller companies that cant upgrade, yet.
        And the requirement of needing extra hardware to Receive the signal means there are a few more things to break, as well as its harder to get a SIMPLE signal in case of emergencies..

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Personanongrata, 17 Jan 2020 @ 4:52pm

    Caveat Emptor

    Users also have to sign up for autopay and paperless billing to take advantage of the offers."

    autopay can be a very convenient payment option but allowing any corporation/person access to your checking/savings account to deduct autopayments from your balance entails a great deal of trust as it only takes one fat-finger oopsy to turn a $50.00 payment into a potential $500.00 (or more) gouge.

    Imagine attempting to claw-back your autopay over payment with your telecoms service depatment.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    chandansharma755 (profile), 21 Jan 2020 @ 7:13am

    Digital Marketing

    Someday we'll be able to have a long thread that is about the article instead of someone's fantasies about himself and the world. Maybe.
    visit the website <a href="https://www.highonrank.com/">Digital Marketing</a>

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    chandansharma755 (profile), 21 Jan 2020 @ 7:14am

    Digital Marketing

    Someday we'll be able to have a long thread that is about the article instead of someone's fantasies about himself and the world. Maybe.
    visit the website https://www.highonrank.com/

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Jan 2020 @ 9:31am

    Best Way To Go

    Verizon for internet and phone. Cable company for TV.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Jan 2020 @ 8:41pm

    Anyone got Pluto TV? The way they throw ads in my face and the frequency with which they shove them in my face is stressing me out totally. Anyone else know what I'm talking about?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 21 Jan 2020 @ 8:45pm

      Re:

      Just to add to that, if there is a good reason to plug the cable back in, it is the absolute rudeness of the Pluto TV app on iphone.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Close

Add A Reply

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Special Affiliate Offer

Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads

Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.