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Verizon - an unlikely partner for cable

By PETER WHITE

Published: 8 December, 2011

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We have had the discussion many times - could Comcast or other cable companies work with any other major US wireless operators other than Sprint? We have always left the subject open - we have never seen how they can - the others, Verizon and AT&T - both have pay TV services, both have broadband, and both have fixed line telephony, and the cable companies have tried to ravage that with their early moves to triple play. T-Mobile could, if it could remain independent, but did it really ever have the network to help cablcos compete?

But Verizon is a well-managed company that is now showing that it can think differently. It has multiple initiatives going at any time and clearly it is not beyond thinking of itself simply as a network, carrying services for others, at the same time as being a brand and a sales outlet for other brands. As long as it grows and makes money, and in particular ends up with more mobile customers than AT&T, Verizon doesn't mind.

It appears to have made two moves this week. Or is it one. The first is to partner with three of the top cable companies, acquiring their spectrum and cutting deals to enable quad play (at some point) for each of them, and to cross sell each other's services in each other's territories. At first that didn't make sense. Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Brighthouse Networks operate mostly in different regions - Cablevision has the biggest overlap with Verizon in new York. So how can Verizon sell Comcast services in a market where Comcast has no cable? It's the same for the others.

And then another deal broke in a Reuters story, that Verizon was going to come to market with a service to kill Netflix. Well Comcast content, sent over the top into the FiOS and other regions, might certainly raise a stumbling block to Netflix?

Then we remembered that back in April Verizon had been talking about this and gave out all the details….

For a full version of our analysis of both stories please go to www.rethinkresearch.biz/faultine and order this week's copy of Faultine and perhaps sign up for a trial.

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