Enticements to bundle up
Qwest lowers cost of "triple play" packages. The former Baby
Bell offers deals on phone, Internet and television service to
take on rivals.
By Beth Potter, Staff Writer
Tuesday, March 21, 2006
Telephone company Qwest started playing offense Monday, offering
its "triple play" of unlimited long-distance and local calls,
high-speed Internet and satellite-TV service for $96.97.
If a Qwest customer in Colorado, Minnesota or Washington wants
to buy the package online, it's even cheaper - $91.97, or $15
lower than the previous $106.97 price, said Michael Dunne, a
The former Baby Bell decided to drop prices to go head to head
with national cable company Comcast Corp. and with Grand
Junction-based Bresnan Communications, Dunne said.
Bresnan is adding 160 to 170 new phone customers a week, said
Shawn Hogue, the cable company's regional vice president.
Bresnan's new customers are primarily former customers of Qwest.
"It's a competitive issue," Dunne said.
Qwest also decided to drop prices to woo former Adelphia
customers in Colorado Springs, Washington and Minnesota, said
Sarah Murphy, Qwest's consumer marketing director. Comcast and
Time Warner Cable are expected to take over the former Greenwood
Village-based cable company's customers later this spring once
the deal is complete, she said.
Customers in Qwest's other 11 mostly Western states will not get
the "triple play" offer, Murphy said.
Qwest customers must sign up for a year of service to get the
promotion, which lasts through July 15, Dunne said. Customers
can pay $99.97 to get a faster Internet speed of 5 megabits per
second, or $96.97 for 1.5 megabits per second.
The faster Internet speed better handles video downloads.
"This is the beginning of this new revolution, and I don't know
who is going to win," said Jeff Kagan, an independent
telecommunication analyst based in Atlanta. "I hope both sides
win because that will keep prices low for everybody."
Comcast spokeswoman Cindy Parsons said the cable company is
focused on value, including video-on-demand service, rather than
price. Comcast offers a $99 "triple play" bundle of service in
some East Coast cities but not in Denver. Here, a "triple play"
bundle costs $109.97, including more digital cable channels and
a $29.99 high-speed Internet promotion that ends at the end of
the month, Parsons said. Comcast's Internet costs are expected
to increase at the beginning of April, bringing the bundle price
up to $124.97.
"We're focused on the value war, and we're winning it," Parsons
Verizon dropped its "triple play" price to $85 in several states
where it operates, said John Hodulik, a telecommunications
analyst at UBS Bank in New York. Verizon does not operate land
lines in Colorado, although it offers wireless service here.
Bresnan Communications has spent $200 million to upgrade
existing networks in parts of Colorado, Wyoming and Montana
since it bought a small part of the AT&T Broadband service in
2002, Hogue said. Bresnan focused on cable service until last
year, when it rolled out phone service in the Grand Junction
area. It now has 28,000 phone customers, including 6,000 in
Grand Junction, he said.
"(It's) an all-out war for the entire customer," Kagan said.
"They're both realizing they have to market and attract the
customers because they no longer capture a piece of the
business. It's all or nothing."
Staff writer Beth Potter can be reached at 303-820-1503 or