Verizon Communications today made available a quad-play bundle — wired voice, data, video and wireless services — in certain parts of the country, though customers can turn it into a triple play by dumping their landlines, a move that underscores just how unimportant the landline had become for telecommunications providers. The ability to dump the wireline voice is a big deal, because carriers, including Verizon, have typically been reluctant to promote unbundling wired voice from wired broadband.
The new bundles are available to folks in the Northeast and mid-Atlantic markets, as well as to existing FiOS customers and those who want DSL and DirectTV bundles. The basic FiOS version includes the national Verizon Wireless calling plan of 450 minutes, Freedom Essentials voice service, FiOS Internet service with downstream/upstream connection speeds of up to 15/5 Mbps and FiOS TV Essentials service for $134.99 per month with a one-year agreement. It’s a reaction to the cable providers offering mobile broadband service thanks to their investment in Clearwire, but I think Verizon has created the wrong bundle. Its basic offering, which contains wired voice, video and data and mobile voice, isn’t what smartphone-toting consumers will want. Instead, I think the bundle to beat is cable’s, which includes wired broadband, video, mobile voice and mobile broadband.