Verizon Flexes Quads

Verizon Communications is rolling out "quad play" bundles in Northeast and Mid-Atlantic markets, offering discounts for customers who order broadband, TV, home phone and wireless service through the telco.

Verizon's first "quad-play" bundles of wireless calling, home phone, broadband Internet and TV services are available to customers who are served by FiOS TV and Internet or by Verizon's DSL plus DirecTV.

"While we've long offered customers the opportunity to add their [Verizon Wireless] charges to a one bill option, it wasn't really a bundled option that provided savings over the separate purchase of the service(s)," Verizon spokesman Bob Elek said in an e-mail.

With four services all on one bill, qualifying quad-play customers will save between $59 and $179 per year, depending upon which bundle they order, according to Verizon. For example, a Verizon Wireless 450-minute per month plan plus FiOS Internet 15/5 mbps, with Freedom Essentials voice service and FiOS TV Essentials would be $134.99 total per month, which represents a discount of approximately $15 per month.

In addition, Verizon is also offering similar packages without traditional home phone service. "We recognize that some customers prefer to use Verizon Wireless as their primary voice service while others appreciate the reliable convenience and the peace of mind that comes with a wired home phone as well," Mike Ritter, Verizon chief marketing officer for consumer wireline and business services, said in a statement.

The telco is touting the service offerings as "plans that cable companies can't offer." Currently no major U.S. cable operator offers wireless phone service, although Cox Communications is gearing up to launch its own "quad play" before the end of 2009. Meanwhile, Comcast and Time Warner Cable are pursuing a data-only wireless play, offering WiMax broadband service through their investments in Clearwire.

Verizon's quad-play bundles will be initially available in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic markets where Verizon offers landline and wireless services, and will be introduced in other Verizon markets in the future.

The telco is offering new customers who sign up by Jan. 16 for FiOS quad-play or triple-play bundles that include broadband and TV service a $150 Visa prepaid card, while those who subscribe to quad- and triple-play bundles that include phone, DSL with 3 or 7 Mbps and DirecTV service will receive three months of free Internet service. Additional triple-play bundles featuring different broadband speeds, TV plans and Verizon Wireless calling plans are also available, as well as additional copper-based double-play bundles.

AT&T has also emphasized wireless as part of its U-verse triple-play. In August, AT&T launched a "buy two, get one free" bundle that offers U-verse TV subscribers, who get either wireless service or unlimited wireline phone service, six months of free DSL Internet service.