Six new regions are getting the Verizon-Comcast treatment. The wireless operator and the cable provider revealed today they’re selling their cross-network bundle of mobile and broadband services in and around Atlanta; Chicago; Kansas City, Mo.; Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minn.; Salt Lake City and throughout Colorado. The U.S. Department of Justice may well find that cross-selling pact anticompetitive, but Verizon and its cable partners aren’t stopping until they’re told they have to.
As in the case with other such launches, Verizon and its cable partner are offering a Visa prepaid card valued between $50 and $300 for customers that couple Verizon Wireless mobile service with a Comcast residential broadband or TV plan. They’re even adding a little extra incentive in this new round of launches with a “double your data package” promotion, which will combine a 12-month upgrade to Comcast’s 30 Mbps Blast cable modem service with Verizon’s PowerBoost offer, which doubles a smartphone user’s monthly data cap.
Verizon and Comcast have been the most aggressive in pursuing their newfound friendship, having already combined marketing efforts in Seattle, San Francisco, and Portland, Ore. Earlier this month, Time Warner Cable and Verizon made good on their partnership, launching promotions in five markets. The main targets of these tag-team assaults are AT&T and CenturyLink, Time Warner and Comcast’s wireline competitors in all of the launch markets so far.
Meanwhile the Federal Communications Commission, the DOJ and even Congress are taking a close look at the competitive implications of these deals as well as Verizon’s planned acquisition of the cable operators’ airwaves. Verizon has maintained that two deals are separate, and therefore the FCC and DOJ should address them independently. But Verizon’s critics have maintained that the spectrum sale and the marketing agreements are all bound up in the same big ball of collusion: the cable operators are trading away their wireless ambitions in order to lock down their core wireline broadband businesses.