Verizon to Boost FiOS TV Rates for New Subscribers

Verizon will kick up the price of its primary FiOS TV programming package by 12% for subscribers who sign up after Jan. 20, 2008.

FiOS TV Premier, which includes more than 200 channels, will cost $47.99 per month for new customers after that date, compared with $42.99 for customers who signed up this year, according to notices Verizon has begun mailing to subscribers in several states. The price increase will be effective for all markets, Verizon director of media relations Sharon Cohen-Hagar said.

Verizon’s price increase signals its “confidence in the strength of their product offering and their ability to gain share even without aggressive discounting,” wrote Sanford Bernstein analyst Craig Moffett, in a research note Tuesday.

The rate hike also “suggests that the risk of a price war in the pay TV market is likely lower than investors expect,” Moffett added.

The telco a year ago raised the price of the FiOS TV Premier package, from $39.95 to $42.99, for new customers as of Jan. 8, 2007.

In addition to higher rates for new FiOS Premier subscribers next January, subscribers who signed up for the service in 2005 and 2006 will see their rates increased to this year’s price level of $42.99, Cohen-Hagar said. Those who subscribed in 2007 will not see their rates change.

The price increases, Cohen-Hagar noted, are “not across the board for every single service, nor for every single customer.”

Among the fees going up are prices for some programming tiers. The La Conexion bundle of 140 Spanish-language channels will be $37.99, compared with $32.99 currently. Verizon’s movie package of 45 channels, which includes Starz, Showtime, Encore, TMC, Flix and Sundance Channel, will increase from $12.99 to $14.99.

Verizon is also adding a new $79.99 fee for “service repair visits” and “set-top box installation/retrieval,” according to the letters to FiOS TV subscribers.