Telcos' shortcomings cited in list of 'things cable TV companies won't say'

A list of "Ten Things Cable TV Companies Won't Say" offers up a series of reasons to "cut the cord" and quit cable service, but it doesn't restrict its criticisms to just cable operators.

The MarketWatch list, compiled by Jonnelle Marte, rakes telcos over the coals for failing to provide the competition that many thought they'd deliver and for instead actually working with cable operators rather than against them.

Under the heading, "Even the phone companies are on our side," the article's fifth item notes, "[i]nstead of competing head-on for customers, as many customers hoped they would, phone companies and cable companies are starting to partner up to sell each other's services."

The item points specifically to the FCC-approved deal where Verizon (NYSE: VZ) Wireless agreed to spend $3.9 billion to buy "unused" wireless spectrum from cable operators Comcast (Nasdaq: CMCSA), Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC) and Cox--and then "agreed to sell the cable companies' home TV services in the markets where Verizon FiOS isn't offered. The cable companies agreed to sell Verizon's wireless services," the item said.

This led indirectly to a lack of competition that was cited in item 4: "Raising prices is part of our heritage."

"The lack of competition means that cable companies have the upper hand when it comes to setting prices," the article said, citing Morningstar analyst Michael Hodel. "Indeed, price hikes are getting steeper."

The telcos even took a hit for the good things they do. In item 2, "Good service exists…just not in your area," the article points to Consumer Reports ratings for top providers and notes that their services are "only available in limited areas." This includes Verizon FiOS, which "says it plans to stop building out its network in 2013."

The article's conclusion is that "bundled packages aren't much of a deal, good service is hard to find and subscription prices are rising faster than inflation."

For more:
- The Wall Street Journal has this story

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