Tag Archives: Verizon

Verizon FiOS Growth and Verizon’s Streaming Video Service

Combined Verizon and AOL logos.

Analysts remain conflicted over the potential growth of Verizon FiOS as 2015 continues. New subscriber projections suggest there will only be around 90,000 additions during the second quarter, which are 25,000 fewer than had been anticipated. To put these totals in perspective, for the same period of time in 2014, FiOS subscribers increased by over 135,000. However, despite these underperforming totals, the expansion of Verizon FiOS, especially in parts of New York, Texas, and New Jersey, is expected to increase substantially over the next eighteenth months.

 

Even if FiOS numbers remain down, one of the reasons that observers are optimistic about Verizon’s financial growth over the long haul is that it plans to release its own video streaming service by September 2015. Over the past few months, Verizon has reached agreements with a number of content providers and is continuing talks with even more. While the initial target is to provide around 25 channels to subscribers, including content from Comedy Central, MTV, Food Network, HGTV, and the Travel Channel, the yet-unnamed service will also include video shorts produced by AwesomenessTV, a subsidiary of DreamWorks. While these offerings will whet the appetite of many consumers, Verizon has made clear that it is especially interested in a younger demographic. As a result of this focus, it has established agreements with ESPN, the ACC Network, CBS Sports, and 120 Sports. Content from these networks will include some NFL, college basketball, and college football games, but broadcast restrictions will apply.

 

Although complete details of the Over the Top (OTT) streaming service have not yet been announced, it is clear that Verizon plans to have an ad-based model, similar to what Hulu Plus does, compared to the pure subscription model used by Netflix. While Hulu Plus has not enjoyed the same subscriber growth as Netflix, Verizon hopes to change this by benefiting from its recent purchase of AOL. Since its days of providing users dial-up internet access, AOL has transformed itself into a leader in online advertising. Survey results produced by the advertising industry have shown that AOL is successful in reaching a target audience more than 55% of the time, a figure that is the envy of all advertisers besides Google. Another aspect tied to the success of the ads on the new Verizon service is that the company hopes users will enjoy the content not only at home, but also on their mobile devices. This means streaming over Verizon’s existing wireless network while consuming a lot of data. However, realizing that the threat of data overage fees may turn off some consumers, Verizon has established an agreement in which the advertisers will help subsidize part of the cost for data used while viewing video content.

 

Verizon: “We Could Offer 1Gbps, But You Don’t Need It”

Verizon is criminal of a lot of anti-consumer activity, but one of the worst crimes (and Verizon aren’t the only ISP) is telling customers what they do and don’t need, regardless of offering the choice.

Time Warner Cable was the first to sprout this complaint – claiming users don’t want high-speed fiber, despite evidence of Google Fiber’s growth showing customers want to buy into 1Gbps Internet.

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FCC Delays Net Neutrality Ruling Until 2015

After U.S. President Barack Obama announced his support for net neutrality and called for the FCC to implement Title II reclassification of both broadband and wireless companies, the FCC has decided to delay the ruling until 2015.

This is not the first delay to the FCC net neutrality ruling, the first coming after the overwhelming response of U.S. citizens to the proposed bill put forward by the FCC, allowing fast-lanes and other anti-consumer plans to go forward.

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Obama Wants Broadband Services Reclassified As Utilities

U.S. President Barack Obama has made his claim before that he supports net-neutrality, but this claim has yet to be backed up with real progress, until now.

The President has sent an open letter to FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, advising the agency to reclassify broadband companies as Title II common carrier “utilities”, similar to the telephone networks in the U.S.

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Verizon backs down from throttling unlimited LTE users

Verizon announced their unlimited 4G LTE users would be hit with some throttling, or as they like to call it, “network optimization”, in order to make sure Verizon Wireless is maximizing profits.

After a rather large backlash from the Internet and an open letter from FCC’s Chairman Tom Wheeler, it looks like Verizon has backed down from the plans, announcing they will not continue.

 

The original announcement looked to stop grandfathered 4G LTE contracts, alongside users who use more than 4.75GB of data, from using the unlimited service without lower speeds.

This is the first time unlimited users, who pay more for the zero-cap data, would be hit with throttling. We are not sure how much these users were costing Verizon, but it must have been a tidy sum for them to try and impose these caps.

It is also the first time a wireless carrier has tried to use speed changes to dissuade people from owning legacy accounts or using more than the average customer, a tactic sometimes used by Comcast and other ISPs.

Sadly, Verizon has yet to learn that the Internet hates ISPs and wireless carriers and will rage at just about any change, especially when it affects both power users and people who pay an enormous amount to have large amounts of data.

Even with the withdrawal by Verizon, we doubt this is the last we will hear about caps and throttling. It is obvious Verizon wants users to have caps on their mobile usage and hit them with penalties for going over the caps.

The FCC has been a major force for good this time, instead of lazily brushing Verizon off and letting them make the rules on wireless contracts. This is good for consumers who want to own and continue owning legacy accounts with unlimited data.

Cell towering: Sprint and T Mobile banning together just feels right

If you can’t beat them, join together, team up and try again. No one at Sprint or T Mobile is going to argue the point that AT&T and Verizon are the two titans of the cell phone community. Between growing subscribers, million dollar marketing campaigns and customer service pedigree that ranges between serviceable to superior, T Mobile and Sprint have been fighting the proverbial good fight, but neither have yielded the kind of results that are worth talking about or moved the needle much in their favor.

AT&T and Verizon continued to grow their business and fought for cell phone supremacy while T Mobile and Sprint tried and failed to spark renewed interest in their respective brands. T Mobile offered to pay your early termination fees and adopted a marketing campaign that appealed to a younger market. Sprint did just about everything under the sun to start gaining business, taking a more family friendly approach to how they presented their case and told prospective consumers that customer service was first on their list. Not much, however, made a difference.

The merger, expected to be announced in the summer, would have Sprint acquiring T Mobile and uniting their resources to tackle Verizon and AT&T with just a little more vigor and intensity together, rather than fighting over the third and fourth spots behind those two communications giants. The idea of them banding together feels less like news per say and more like inevitability.

Had either T Mobile or Sprint been able to garner some momentum with any of their advertising in the last decade, the deal would seem terribly out of place to the naked eye. And perhaps that is why the merger between the two had been discussed for years but no one ever pulled the trigger; T Mobile and Sprint refused to waive their white flag and throw up their arms in disgust by not being able to at least crawl ahead of either AT&T or Verizon until they tried everything in their arsenal.

Now, they decided to stop shooting blanks and start implementing a two heads are better than one mentality. That may sound like it trivializes the actual merger between Sprint and T Mobile, but at the surface these are two terribly proud companies that realized collectively they could do more than individual, provided it passes the eye test from regulators who will ultimately OK the deal. If you remember, AT&T tried in vain to buy T Mobile not that long ago, but the deal was effectively nixed. Some may call T Mobile and Sprint failures for not being able to gain success on their own. That comment carries with it some validity but only if you believe in accepting mediocrity as your mantra.

Netflix Factor: How the low cost streaming model has cable cowering

Traditional cable television, say hello to the new kid on the block. Online streaming services like Netflix and Hulu have traditional cable television and satellite providers contemplating their next movie, asking how they can continue charging $100 a month for their services when the aforementioned players check in for less than $10.

Cable television and satellite try to stay ahead of the curve by bundling services, offering internet and phone in conjunction with all your favorite channels. The lightning fast internet provided by the likes of Comcast and Verizon FIOS keep customers at bay and content to stay put, at least until that promotional period runs its course. Then, that $79.99 bundle that lasted for 12 glorious months has skyrocketed to $200 or more. That’s when those tired and frustrated cable TV customers start looking for a viable option to their three digit bill. Enter Netflix or Hulu. These streaming sensations feature plenty of first rate entertainment in the form of sitcoms and movies, a more than decent array of titles for a pretty penny. Of course, you won’t be getting the newest releases in most cases, but that’s what Redbox, another entity that is cutting into the stranglehold previously held by cable TV, is for.

Netflix raised its game recently by beginning its forage into first run, original shows. That move blurs the lines between being a streaming service and a rogue television provider without a country. Think of Netflix as the Notre Dame of entertainment; independent and playing by their own rules. And those rules aren’t about to conform to a cable only sector again any time soon.

Take a look at the latest television model put forth by World Wrestling Entertainment, the professional wrestling and entertainment juggernaut that scores four million viewers each week with its television programming. They’re launching their own “network,” but not within the confines of a cable provider. Rather, they’re streaming all of their back events, shows and matches straight to a tablet, phone or laptop near you. If this idea takes flight, who is to say more won’t try it. Who is to say, however, that the playing field or sandbox isn’t big enough for everyone?

Combining the likes of Netflix and cable could be the best of both worlds: saving money and having the entertainment you want at your beckon call. Between the aforementioned cable internet service and the movies and TV touted by Netflix, you can keep your communications bill under $100 and still engage in enough pop culture to stay relevant.

Kudos to Netflix for nabbing more than just a small spot under the entertainment spotlight but rather carving out a nifty niche in an ultra-competitive industry. They’ve grown considerably in recent years but probably won’t dethrone giants like Comcast and Verizon any time soon. But Netflix will, in fact, keep those cable communications companies on the tip of their toes.

Sweet sounds: Customer service seems underrated in mobile phone business

T-Mobile might be a distant third behind AT&T and Verizon when it comes to communications carriers, but they market their product and brand as though they’re the best thing to happen since customer service in quite some time. And isn’t that the way it should be in this business?

Continue reading Sweet sounds: Customer service seems underrated in mobile phone business