Consumer Reports confirms that bundles save money, cites Verizon FiOS, WOW as top services

Venerable research magazine Consumer Reports has concluded what service providers have said for years: bundles are the best way to save money when buying telecom services. Of course service providers have also always added the proviso that bundling also glues subscribers to their services—but Consumer Reports really doesn't care about that.

"Our report (on telecom services) revealed that although rates for telecom services have been trending upward, there are proven ways to save for consumers who act boldly and tackle those costs head-on," CR Electronics Editor Paul Reynolds said in a press release.

The report also concluded, he said, that "most people have at least one decent choice in telecom."

Among those choices worth highlighting, the magazine said, are Verizon (NYSE: VZ) FiOS, which "received standout scores for its broadband speed and reliability, TV picture and reliability and even phone call quality and reliability" and Midwestern cable operator WOW, which, the magazine said, "merits serious consideration" thanks to the high markets it received for its bundled telecom service, "especially for billing and support coordination."

The benefits of bundling, the magazine suggested, are even more apparent to consumers who are willing to bargain with their providers.

"Only one in three survey respondents with a triple or quad play negotiated with their carrier, and many of them got a reduction in their monthly bill, fees waived, or an upgrade in service," the press release said, noting that approximately 44 percent of those who bargained saved up to $50 a month and 7 percent saved more than that.

The magazine also cautioned against the newest trend among service providers to drive consumers to higher speed levels with correspondingly higher broadband service fees, citing the example of Cablevision's (NYSE: CVC) Optimum service which offers a $15-a-month Boost Plus upgrade that drives broadband speeds from 15 Mbps to 50 Mbps. It's overkill, the magazine said.

"That (15 Mbps) download speed should be all the typical household needs, even if multiple users are simultaneously doing bandwidth-hungry tasks," the press release said.

For more:
- Consumer Reports issued this press release

Related articles:
AT&T, Verizon offer the best triple, quad-play service bundles, says Consumer Reports
WOW dominates Consumer Reports rankings of top TV, Internet and phone providers