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Summary:

The long awaited assault by Comcast on Bell companies’ bread-and-butter phone business has begun. The first battleground is shaping up to be Atlanta, where over past month the cable and broadband giant has been firing salvos at BellSouth. The company is offering an unlimited Local and […]

The long awaited assault by Comcast on Bell companies’ bread-and-butter phone business has begun. The first battleground is shaping up to be Atlanta, where over past month the cable and broadband giant has been firing salvos at BellSouth. The company is offering an unlimited Local and Long Distance service for $39.95 per month for triple play customers.

Clearly, the offering is much more expensive than BellSouth’s double play offering of $54.99 per month. It is still more expensive than standalone VoIP service BellSouth just launched in partnership with with 8×8 for $29.99 per month. Nevertheless, Comcast is off to a good start in Atlanta region: it is adding 1000 VoIP customers every day.

UBS estimates that there will be 4.3 million new net-adds in 2006, up a million from 3.3 million net adds in 2005. The 2005 growth spurt added to the subscriber base of cable operators and Vonage.

Comcast is looking to add at least 1 million VoIP subscriber adds during 2006. If that is the case, then UBS thinks the Bell operator most at risk is for SBC (AT&T.) Comcast offers service in roughly 30% of SBC region.

Meanwhile, Comcast announced plans to buy set-top boxes from Samsung, 200,000 initially and said that it might buy another 500,000. Motorola is their other vendor.

By Om Malik

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  1. We’ve had Comcast voice for a while in Massachusetts. Comcast made it trivially easy to switch from Verizon and we are saving lots of LD $$$. Thought about AT&T CallVantage, but couldn’t transfer my old number or even get a local number. Both are possible with Comcast. Service has been quite good and it works with my 1st generation TIVO (unlike Vonage).

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  2. I can’t imagine paying $19.99 for their voip offering, let alone the $39.99 premium price they are charging. I can’t believe they are signing up 1000 customers/day at that price. You can get a POTS line for that price w/unlimited LD from most LECs.

    Comcast is a clueless company. Yesterday, they had a 5 hour outage in my area (Park City, UT) and no one on the front line (customer service) was informed of the outage by the NOC. Rather than just saying they had a local outage, they tried to walk everyone through the troubleshooting process (reboot your modem, etc,). Madness!

    Regarding the set-top boxes, last night my Sci Atlanta box froze up for about the 10th time and didn’t record ER as scheduled. Their current set top boxes are junk. In addition, the quality of the picture i get through the set top box looks like a broadcast reception from 1950.

    So why am i a comcast customer? They are my only choice for broadband.

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  3. Are you a student of “the new math?”

    ‘The company is offering an unlimited Local and Long Distance service for $39.95 per month for triple play customers…Clearly, the offering is much more expensive than BellSouth’s double play offering of $54.99 per month.’

    So $39.95 is MORE expensive than $54.99? I need to go back to school again! ;-)

    And w/r/t comparison with 8×8, it would be more expensive. But it looks like they are selling it on the basis of a primary line replacement with QoS and e911. I think 8×8, like Vonage, is still best effort. I have Vonage at home now and will probably switch over to this service as soon as I can get it, but will want to make sure there is web access to voicemail first (which I use from work).

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  4. AnOn, new math is actually the old math.

    43$ a month for broadband connection + $39.95 for voice = $$82.95 a month.

    BellSouth=package of broadband+voice $54.99

    same $35 for DSL and $packet8 = still cheaper than comcast

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  5. Jesse Kopelman Friday, January 6, 2006

    Parkite, $39/month for POTS + Unlimited LD is not typical nationwide. I think the going rate in Verizon country is at least $50. Secondly, it does not surprise me that Comcast is signing up customers quickly. The only companies more hated by their own customers than cablecos are Bells. This is an interesting battle in Atlanta, though, as Comcast is known to have the best customer service for cablecos and Bellsouth for RBOCs.

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  6. [...] BellSouth, is cutting prices on its higher end DSL prices, perhaps due to a triple play threat posed by Comcast, that recently launched its VoIP services in the Atlanta area. I am no big fan of duoply, but if it means $5 less from consumers, the market place seems to be working, in a dysfunctional sort of a way. [...]

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