As competition builds between cable companies like Comcast (CMCSA) and Time Warner Cable (TWC) and telcos like AT&T (T) and Verizon (VZ), service providers are slashing rates to keep subscribers.
At least if you ask for a discount, according to the Wall Street Journal, citing two cases in which subscribers got almost 50% knocked off their bills.
On the whole, cable rates are actually increasing. But with the housing market in the toilet — reducing the opportunity for new subscriber growth — it makes sense that service providers would negotiate rates to keep their long-term customers from fleeing. (Or to poach customers from rivals.)
WSJ: “The key is to hang on to every possible customer right now,” says Alex Dudley, a spokesman for Time Warner Cable, the country’s second-largest cable operator by subscribers, after Comcast Corp. “They are our lifeblood.” Mr. Dudley says that Time Warner Cable is also more receptive to giving stretched customers a discount during these tough times.
So go ahead and call — especially if you purchase more than two services, such as cable TV and high-speed Internet or digital phone service. And especially if you spend more than $100 per month on service.
This is not good news for the cable and telco companies, of course. While reducing churn is a good thing, slower monthly ARPU (average revenue per user) growth — or perhaps ARPU shrinkage — is bad news.