'Hello! Would You Like to Add Verizon Wireless to Your Xfinity Order Today?'

Comcast expects to start rolling out various packages with Verizon Wireless in four markets early next year (see Smit: Comcast Will Keep Clearwire Stake and Comcast, TWC And BHN Sell Spectrum To Verizon Wireless For $3.6 Billion).

“The teams are already engaged; they are great commercial arrangements and we think we’ve put together great packages that combine the best of the various bundles,” [Comcast Cable CEO Neil] Smit said. He added that the offerings don’t necessarily have to be a quad-play of wireless, video, voice and data, but could be a triple play with three of those four products or home security.

Customer-Service Rep: Hi! Thanks for calling Comcast. Are you interested in adding some wireless devices and services to your Xfinity triple-play?

Customer: What? I’m calling the cable company, right?

CSR: Yes indeedy. We have a new deal with Verizon Wireless, through which Comcast customers can take advantage of some exciting new offers.

Customer: Why would I want to buy those services through Comcast?

CSR: Convenience. We now offer all your communications and entertainment services — from one place.

Customer: Except Verizon Wireless is providing the wireless. Who do I call if I have a problem?

CSR: We’ll route your call appropriately, not to worry.

Customer: Wait a second. Didn’t you guys try this a couple of years ago with Sprint? That Pivot thing?

CSR: Yeah, but that was different. Sprint was really inflexible on the plans we could offer, and they had trouble getting service activated. Plus, the phones were lame.

Customer: But I’m still confused. Aren’t you guys competitors with Verizon? How come you’re suddenly pals?

CSR: You’re thinking of Verizon Telecom. Verizon Wireless is a separate entity, 55% owned by Verizon Communications and 45% by Vodafone. Obviously we don’t compete with the wireless guys. Also, they are paying us beaucoup bucks for some wireless spectrum that we’ve just been sitting on for five years.

Customer: Right. Well, it sounds OK — except I already have service from [Verizon Wireless, AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile] and I’m in the middle of a two-year contract. Will you pay my early-termination fee?

CSR: Hmmm. Let me check on that…


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