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Cable: Verizon Being Sleazy In VoIP Battle
Using number port requests to win back customers
by Karl Bode 11:46AM Monday Mar 24 2008 Tipped by caco See Profile
Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Brighthouse have been accusing Verizon of sleazy tactics in the war over voice customers. According to the cable companies, Verizon is using number portability requests as an opportunity to market to customers who have already chosen to defect to cable VoIP. Verizon receives the port request, pitches the customer with free gift cards or other offers, and then cancels the transfer if their marketing succeeds. While the cable companies say this violates FCC rules (pdf), Verizon says all's fair in love and VoIP:
quote:
Verizon says constraints on the use of proprietary information were not meant to apply to phone-number transfers. In those cases, it says, the cable company is acting on the customer's behalf — that's how Verizon is notified to cancel the service. If it can't respond and try to retain the customer, cable would have an unfair advantage, Verizon says. Why? A cable customer who switches to Verizon for TV must call to cancel cable service, giving the cable company a chance to try to keep its customer.

Verizon's David Fish says the cable companies are trying to "block consumer choice."
Of course when the four largest phone companies are losing 2.6 million landline customers per quarter (about half of those to cable VOIP), they apparently need all the help they can get.

view:
topics flat nest 

FFH
Premium
join:2002-03-03
Tavistock NJ
kudos:5

1 recommendation

Verizon makes a good point

If it can't respond and try to retain the customer, cable would have an unfair advantage, Verizon says. Why? A cable customer who switches to Verizon for TV must call to cancel cable service, giving the cable company a chance to try to keep its customer.
And if the FCC rules prevent what Verizon is doing, then the rules need changing. Of course, even NEW rules shouldn't allow Verizon to unduly delay the transfer. They should get 1 crack at retaining their customer and then they should have to put thru the transfer request.
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My BLOG .. .. Internet News .. .. My Web Page
Enlightener

join:2006-01-28
Cedar Park, TX

1 recommendation

Re: Verizon makes a good point

I would think that once a customer has contacted another provider and put in a transfer request that the previous provider has already ha their 1 crack at keeping the customer happy.

jester121
Premium
join:2003-08-09
Lake Zurich, IL
No, Verizon is comparing apples and oranges.

If a customer transfers their Comcast Digital Voice (or whatever it's called now) to Verizon they follow the exact same porting process in reverse.

Porting regulations aren't applicable to TV service. Remember, the point of this law was for the good of consumers -- switching carriers doesn't mean losing your phone number. There's nothing of the sort in television, whether satellite, cable, Uverse, or FIOS.

en102
Canadian, eh?

join:2001-01-26
Valencia, CA

Re: Verizon makes a good point

Exactly... the only reason that this process exists is to keep a phone number. As part of LNP, this process exists to allow you to change providers and retain the number, and this process is to be followed by all providers porting phone numbers... Verizon should not be exempt, or try to compare this with switching TV service.
--
Canada = Hollywood North
xsiddalx

join:2005-03-11
Chicago, IL
said by jester121:

No, Verizon is comparing apples and oranges.

If a customer transfers their Comcast Digital Voice (or whatever it's called now) to Verizon they follow the exact same porting process in reverse.

Porting regulations aren't applicable to TV service. Remember, the point of this law was for the good of consumers -- switching carriers doesn't mean losing your phone number. There's nothing of the sort in television, whether satellite, cable, Uverse, or FIOS.
Don't forget to add Comcast Digital Phone or any other VOIP type offering. Voip providers aren't allowed to port numbers. Comcast Digital Phone is supposed to be dead by April something or other, then they may or may not be telephone companies with porting requirements.

jester121
Premium
join:2003-08-09
Lake Zurich, IL

Re: Verizon makes a good point

said by xsiddalx:

Don't forget to add Comcast Digital Phone or any other VOIP type offering. Voip providers aren't allowed to port numbers. Comcast Digital Phone is supposed to be dead by April something or other, then they may or may not be telephone companies with porting requirements.
???

Vonage, Viatalk, and all the rest will be interested to hear that they can't port numbers -- they've both ported my SBC number, as did Sunrocket. Although, technically, I guess you could say it's whoever they're purchasing PSTN access from that's handling the port.

MadMANN3
Premium
join:2005-08-19
kudos:2
said by xsiddalx:

Voip providers aren't allowed to port numbers.
Inaccurate. Most do it all of the time, as long as the customer lives in the same area where the prefix can apply.

As far as the news story goes, I don't feel that giving a provider one last chance to retain a customer is so off the wall. However, being in the industry, I can tell you that many illegal tactics are used during the porting process by many ILECs. I have seen ports delayed further than the legal time frame in hopes of frustrating the customer into staying where they are and giving the appearance that the new provider can't get the job done. This is most useful when a customer is getting a triple play and the company either has to make 2 trips or delay the entire install. In that case, they not only affect the phone service and screws with the TV/'net install in the process.

supergirl

join:2007-03-20
Pensacola, FL
said by FFH:

If it can't respond and try to retain the customer, cable would have an unfair advantage, Verizon says. Why? A cable customer who switches to Verizon for TV must call to cancel cable service, giving the cable company a chance to try to keep its customer.
And if the FCC rules prevent what Verizon is doing, then the rules need changing. Of course, even NEW rules shouldn't allow Verizon to unduly delay the transfer. They should get 1 crack at retaining their customer and then they should have to put thru the transfer request.
FCC Rules don't allow a "one crack". You can't winback till after the port to the new company. VZ should suffer lots of fines. After all, they have no problem suing everyone for "violating" their broad patents. It is a clear FCC violation NOT to just port and try and win the customer back before porting. The FCC put that rule in since the RBOCs are monopolies. K. Martin should do his job and fine them and tell them to cease and desist. VZ wants to play the game by chosing which laws they like and which they don't. When I switched to Cox Digital Phone, Bellsouth didn't try to win me back till after I left. They did try and delay the damn port for 14 days though. Funny, cell cos can port in 24 hrs but it takes a Bell 10 days to port. Ridiculous. Fines can be imposed on that too. Fine VZ and makes rules so clear these bozos get it. By the way, employees doing that can get fired so fire the executive that started this mess.
--
Saving the world keeps me busy. However, I find Earth very primitive from my home planet of Krypton.
-Supergirl

tschmidt
Premium,MVM
join:2000-11-12
Milford, NH
kudos:9
Reviews:
·G4 Communications
·Fairpoint Commun..
·Hollis Hosting
I'm not aware of the details but I agree with FFH See Profile as long as:

1) They are only trying to retain existing customer's
2) is not used to delay transfer.

The second one is the most problematic because as a result of deregulation there are many "Verizon's" even though from a customer perspective we are dealing with a single company.

/tom
Network Guy
Premium
join:2000-08-25
New York
kudos:2

Cable MSOs need to STFU

Competition is a swell beauty, and this shows it.

In the past Verizon would have given two shits to cancel an account. It's good to see companies bid for your money, not the other way around.

Jerm

join:2000-04-10
Richland, WA
kudos:2

yeah...

Its a war...

Do you know who tends to WIN in these situations? The Consumer!

Competition is a great thing.

Personally I file this under the "who cares" heading because my home phone costs me $5/month or less total because I use a metered VOIP service. Smart consumer FTW!
probboy

join:2008-01-10
Natick, MA

Happened to me.

I put in a port request to Comcast back in November when Verizon raised rates on subscribers who didn't bundle (funny thing is that it's tough to bundle if they only offer one service at your address, but I digress). I was paying some god-awful amount for one of the Verizon Freedom packages ($49/mo, maybe). As soon as they got the port request, they were willing to offer the same exact package for $24/mo for 12 months ($33/mo after unfees and taxes).

My guess is that they aren't losing money at the $24 price point.

tommy13v
Premium
join:2002-02-15
Niskayuna NY

1 edit

Re: Happened to me.

$24 a month? I got $14.99 per month for 12 months back in November.

»www.fatwallet.com/forums/message···=verizon

fatmanskinny
Premium
join:2004-01-04
Wandering
Reviews:
·Vonage
·Comcast Digital ..

Re: Happened to me.

If AT&T were as smart as Verizon smarter, they would have countered my move to Comcast DV. Well, being that my service is a lot cheaper ($19.99 a month + $3 eMTA fee) and I have unlimited local and long distance with more features than I use, I am glad I made the switch.

I can also fax over it as you get an actual dial tone.
--
The only place where Success comes before Work is in the dictionary.

fatmanskinny
Premium
join:2004-01-04
Wandering
Reviews:
·Vonage
·Comcast Digital ..

3 edits

Recent Bell to Comcast Digital Voice nightmare....

Here is a summary of my recent experience over the last two weeks:

1. Called Comcast to sign up for digital voice. We were told that the phone information with Bellsouth (in my name) has to match up with the information on Comcast account (in wife's name). Set appointment for install (9 days later) and Number Portability process was started.

2. Called Bellsouth. Attempted to change account info to wife's name. They said they had to run a credit check, yada yada yada. Explained to them why we are doing it per move to Comcast Digital Phone. They said it still has to be done. Declined to go further.

3. Called Comcast back. Someone said we could change the account info into my name by going directly to a Comcast service center.

4. Went to Comcast service center later that week. My wife and I were present with ID information to change account. Comcast rep told us that in order to legally change everything including putting my social security number (last 4 digits) within their system, we had to cancel the account and reopen in my name, therefore losing any promotions we had on the account. We declined to change it.

5. My wife called Comcast again and they stated it still has to match up or we may not get the BS phone number.

6. My wife called Bellsouth again with me on a 3-way call. They transferred us to several departments and eventually we hung up because we did not get to the Number Portability group.

7. Wife called BellSouth again. Someone said that changes to the account cannot be made as the Number Porting request from Comcast locked the account. They suggested to have the Phone Number Porting removed so changes could be made on the account. This will take 48 hours to complete.

8. Wife called again 2 days later with me on the line. FINALLY, we got someone in Bellsouth who told us that the account information does not have to be in my name and they do this with Comcast all the time. We told the BS rep Comcast said it must be in her name. The rep said she is certain this is not the case and she has personally transferred numbers to Comcast without account names syncing up (addresses matched). We thanked her and hung up.

8. Wife called Comcast back. She told them what Bellsouth rep said. The Comcast agent said "yes, that is correct. Although we don't prefer that to be the option, it has gone through." Uh, Comcast could not tell me from the beginning that this option was available????

In all, over 10 phone calls placed between 2 companies and a lot of time wasted in order to move to Comcast from a Bell company.

It looks like Comcast was giving Bellsouth a helping hand for us to stay with Bellsouth as their reps did not display enough knowledge about the process and Bellsouth answered the question that Comcast should have been able to answer.

On the other side of that coin, the Comcast Tech who installed was super professional and rewired my alarm system to run over Comcast DV, saving me a $75 tech call from my alarm system.

Important Note:

The Comcast tech for my CDV install recently moved down here from Massachusetts (down here for 1 week). He said that Verizon FIOS is kicking Comcast's a$$ up there so bad, he had to relocate to Atlanta because their workload dropped. They had something like 1400 serviceable routes and now they have about 87 in his former service district in Mass. Damn!
--
The only place where Success comes before Work is in the dictionary.

FFH
Premium
join:2002-03-03
Tavistock NJ
kudos:5

Re: Recent Bell to Comcast Digital Voice nightmare....

Think about using a feature like GrandCentral from Google in the future. You get 1 number from GrandCentral you give to everyone. And then you can direct calls to any phones you like(even simultaneously) no matter how many times you change your underlying land line and cell phone numbers. Then you can switch providers all you want without worrying about number portability.

»www.grandcentral.com/

Read about it here:
»www.google.com/support/grandcentral/
--
My BLOG .. .. Internet News .. .. My Web Page

fatmanskinny
Premium
join:2004-01-04
Wandering

1 recommendation

Re: Recent Bell to Comcast Digital Voice nightmare....

Damn Google has everything. Lol! Good find. Thanks much.
moonpuppy

join:2000-08-21
Glen Burnie, MD
said by FFH:

Think about using a feature like GrandCentral from Google in the future. You get 1 number from GrandCentral you give to everyone. And then you can direct calls to any phones you like(even simultaneously) no matter how many times you change your underlying land line and cell phone numbers. Then you can switch providers all you want without worrying about number portability.

»www.grandcentral.com/

Read about it here:
»www.google.com/support/grandcentral/
Bell Atlantic used to offer something like that years ago. Cost too much and never got off the ground.

»query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.h···64958260

jester121
Premium
join:2003-08-09
Lake Zurich, IL
If Grandcentral could port my existing number IN, they'd have a money-making opportunity. I'd pay a hundred bucks or so to keep my phone number mine, always, no matter what, and have access to their forwarding service. Then I could switch between VOIP/cell/whatever at will and not have to hassle with number ports every time.

FFH
Premium
join:2002-03-03
Tavistock NJ
kudos:5

Re: Recent Bell to Comcast Digital Voice nightmare....

said by jester121:

If Grandcentral could port my existing number IN, they'd have a money-making opportunity. I'd pay a hundred bucks or so to keep my phone number mine, always, no matter what, and have access to their forwarding service. Then I could switch between VOIP/cell/whatever at will and not have to hassle with number ports every time.
Their site says they are working on that. But I bet they are having trouble getting their service approved as some sort of CLEC to allow the porting in to be allowed.
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My BLOG .. .. Internet News .. .. My Web Page
SKYWARP

join:2005-02-02
Portland, OR
Legally, Comcast was correct. PON requests include account holder's name, the phone number, and the address. All of this information must match.

If any of these things do not match, the notified company can reject the PON request.

fatmanskinny
Premium
join:2004-01-04
Wandering
Reviews:
·Vonage
·Comcast Digital ..

Re: Recent Bell to Comcast Digital Voice nightmare....

said by SKYWARP:

Legally, Comcast was correct. PON requests include account holder's name, the phone number, and the address. All of this information must match.

If any of these things do not match, the notified company can reject the PON request.
Really??? That is interesting.
--
The only place where Success comes before Work is in the dictionary.

booticon

join:2007-07-31
East Lyme, CT

Re: Recent Bell to Comcast Digital Voice nightmare....

It's really in the best interest of the consumer that this information matches. Otherwise the chances increase that the person requesting a port doesn't actually own the number.
heatsker151

join:2007-10-14
Lebanon, PA
Speaking from a rep who puts through said requests for portability, I can tell you that I try to assure the Bell account holder and the cable account holder's name are the same. If not, I try to get the two parties to reconcile the names on either the cable account or the phone account. If I don't do this, well, I have still had the port happen but not all the time. Legally the LEC still has right of denial but if enough info is coincidental (Last name, service AND billing address, etc) the port will usually go through. Your mileage WILL vary depending on the LEC and what mood they're in to allow it to happen.

fatmanskinny
Premium
join:2004-01-04
Wandering

Re: Recent Bell to Comcast Digital Voice nightmare....

Got it! We got our knickers in a knot for no reason. Oh well, that was our fault. Thanks for clarifying that.
--
The only place where Success comes before Work is in the dictionary.

cdru
Go Colts
Premium,MVM
join:2003-05-14
Fort Wayne, IN
kudos:7
said by fatmanskinny:

Important Note:

The Comcast tech for my CDV install recently moved down here from Massachusetts (down here for 1 week). He said that Verizon FIOS is kicking Comcast's a$$ up there so bad, he had to relocate to Atlanta because their workload dropped. They had something like 1400 serviceable routes and now they have about 87 in his former service district in Mass. Damn!
I wonder how much of that is due to Verizon's service (phone, internet, and/or TV) or people's peception that a telephone company can do data and/or TV a lot better then a cable company can do voice.
SKYWARP

join:2005-02-02
Portland, OR

Naughty, naughty. . .

Verizon is clearly in violation of the porting laws in place.

Good or bad, what they are doing is wrong. They should petition to change the regulations, and untill they are changed, they should obey them.

These laws were put into place to protect choice. If it were not for these regulations, you wouldn't have the choice to take your number to another company to begin with. Verizon is doing exactly what these laws were put into place to prevent.

DaveDude
No Fear

join:1999-09-01
New Jersey
kudos:1

Bell less reliable then Cable

I have 1 bell phone , and 2 cable. So far this year the bell phone has been out for 4 days in total. The cable phone was out one day, due to a power outage, which lasted about a day. So far cable is more reliable, and cheaper.

icp1
Premium
join:2000-10-13
Saint Louis, MO

Re: Bell less reliable then Cable

said by DaveDude:

I have 1 bell phone , and 2 cable. So far this year the bell phone has been out for 4 days in total. The cable phone was out one day, due to a power outage, which lasted about a day. So far cable is more reliable, and cheaper.
Yes, we all know that 1 user for 1 year testing is statistically significant
Austinloop

join:2001-08-19
Austin, TX
kudos:1

Re: Bell less reliable then Cable

My land line has been out of service 2 or 3 times since 1979 for a total of about 8 to 12 hours. I have lost count because an outage every 9 or 10 years is not really significant.

dadkins
Can you do Blu?
Premium,MVM
join:2003-09-26
Hercules, CA
kudos:18

Re: Bell less reliable then Cable

My digital phone service(AT&T>Comcast DP>CDV) has been out once in 16 years.
Seeing as *MINE* is one in a crowd, it is insignificant, huh?

et tu?
--
Think outside the Fox... Opera
xsiddalx

join:2005-03-11
Chicago, IL

Re: Bell less reliable then Cable

said by dadkins:

My digital phone service(AT&T>Comcast DP>CDV) has been out once in 16 years.
Seeing as *MINE* is one in a crowd, it is insignificant, huh?

et tu?
FWIW, you do realize T and Comcast's DP was POTS, right?

CDV is not the same as DP. CDV is managed IP, which every telco will eventually, if not already without calling it such, will provide. Toss some IP Telephony over a DSL loop and what's the difference between the telco and cable company other than price? Sucks for vonage though, they'll be following the pre 2k-ISP model

rit56

join:2000-12-01
New York, NY
Reviews:
·Time Warner Cable

Verizon and their tatics

I switched to TWC triple play in October. I started calling Verizon in August to try to get a comparable or better deal. They told me they had none. As soon as I made the decision to switch, contacted TW and said lets go Verizon started calling and offering me a deal to stay. I don't understand why they offered nothing until I decided to switch. All they did really was piss me off and at that point I wanted out. They need to rethink their business model a bit. If a customer calls them and says "I'm thinking of switching to TWC for their triple play, do you have anything competitive as far as a land line goes?" you would think at that point they would offer a deal of some sort.

mmainprize

join:2001-12-06
Houghton Lake, MI
Reviews:
·Charter

Re: Verizon and their tatics

I had the same thing happen to me, i called Verizon and asked to lower my bill any way i could as 50 buck for a phone and message center and 20 cent a minute long distance was not cutting it. So after paying to have the voice mail box removed and still ending up with 45 a month, i called charter and added the phone service.

I got a express mail from Version about wanting to keep me as a customer. I called the number and he offered me deal after deal. He offered TV, Phone, and DSL for less then charter. The only problem is that only phone is available in my area. After i explained that and that i had called and asked about lowering my phone cost but got no where, he said he was sorry and offered to match the charter phone cost and features.

I told him he had his change and blow it, i am staying with charter as at least they are upgrading and offer triple play, i am still waiting for verizon to put in DSL.
tmc8080

join:2004-04-24
Brooklyn, NY

select subscribers..

To be honest.. it's like trying to use a wad of gum to shore-up the Louisiana levies.. Verizon is losing hundreds of thousands of :POTS: lines every couple of months.

DaveDude
No Fear

join:1999-09-01
New Jersey
kudos:1
Reviews:
·ViaTalk

Re: select subscribers..

Its because of Bells attitude towards the customer. Speaking to them on the phone, they act they you better not ask for anything. They make no deals. I call Canada alot, dial-around is 1 cent a minute. I asked if Verizon plans on matching it or something close. They said 18 cents a minute was there rate, and i could add canada for $20 a month. So i just use dial around. There are so many termites eating the bells.
--
“Say no to fear. Don’t let anxiety crush your life. Live life free and unfettered.”


PoloDude
Premium,VIP
join:2006-03-29
Northport, NY
kudos:3

So what

Cablevision is doing the same thing to Verizon.

NicoleDiana
Unexpected
Premium
join:2003-10-10
australia

AT&T as well

When I cut off the AT&T phone and DSL service at a corporate condo in FL recently, I was grilled on why and then asked if I was going to another provider, which is Brighthouse.

On my desk is a letter from AT&T, offering deals and discounts to get us back. Here's the URL they referenced in the letter: »smallbusiness.bellsouth.com/cust···ning.asp

If only they would understand that the price of services had nothing to do with the termination. It was the lack of resolution to multiple billing errors over the course of 9 months. It was CSR's who made the problems worse by making additional clerical errors, even converting a personal account to business and then refusing to change it back while apologizing for the mishap.

Our business account is next, migrating from AT&T to a VOIP provider across the road. No amount of letters or emails will win us back.

Back on topic though, I don't think Verizon (or anyone) should contact customers who want to port numbers. If a customer goes through the hassle of getting a disconnect, all avenues were previously crossed. Leave them alone!
--
I would like to change the world but nobody will give me the source code.

odreian615

join:2006-01-18
Chicago, IL

"Cable: Verizon Being Sleazy In VoIP Battle"

Pot meet Kettle
Kettle meet Pot
rcannon100

join:2008-02-19
San Francisco, CA

CPNI

In the old days, this was exactly the situation covered by the Computer Inquiries and specifically the Customer Proprietary Network Information rules. As originally crafted, CPNI rules were not privacy rules as much as they were anti competitive safeguards. The CPNI rules worked along these lines:

First, you have the telco, and the telco runs the telecom infrastructure and may offer enhanced services. There are other enhanced service providers but the telco is the only (as in monopoly) telecom infrastructure providers.

The Telco as a then monopoly is a bottleneck supplier for both its enhanced service provider and another enhanced service providers. Thus in the enhanced service provider market, the telco has a unique advantage over all the other enhanced service providers as being the sole source provider of a necessary input.

So here is how CPNI worked. The regulated telco could use regulated customer service information ONLY to market regulated services; the regulated telco could not use regulated customer information to provide unregulated - enhanced services.

Translation: The telco could use telephone information to market telephone service. The telco could not use telephone information to market its own enhanced service.

Example: If a customer orders "X", and "X" is a necessary input for enhanced services, the Telco may not use the info and opportunity to market its own enhanced service.

In the old days, dsl was a telco regulated service. A customer would go to the ACME ISP and order DSL Internet service. The ACME ISP would go to the telco and say, customer would like DSL installed from them to us. Telco would rule a truck and install the regulated-at-the-time DSL service.

Arguably, at that moment, if the telco truck guy said to customer, why are you getting DSL Internet from ACME for $49 a month when you could get it from Telco for $39, that would be a use of customer information in violation of CPNI.

That's the way it use to work.

See »www.cybertelecom.org/ci/cpni.htm

LeeRich

@myvzw.com

You've Got To Be Kidding

David Fish has got to be kidding. No one's disputing Verizon's right to retain customers who call to cancel their service. This is totally different - Verizon controls all of its customers' phone numbers and if I call a competitor and sign up for new service, the competitor has to practically ask Verizon's permission to complete the switch by obtaining my phone number. Congress and the FCC didn't establish our rights to number portability to open up an avenue for Verizon to "save" our business as a last resort.

Real competition means that we have companies constantly innovating, introducing new services and cutting prices. Saving a few bucks in the short term until Verizon triples the price for caller ID again is not what our competition laws were meant to do.

GottaRegister

@nmci.navy.mil

Re: You've Got To Be Kidding

said by LeeRich :

Real competition means that we have companies constantly innovating, introducing new services and cutting prices. Saving a few bucks in the short term until Verizon triples the price for caller ID again is not what our competition laws were meant to do.
My thoughts exactly. How pathetic is this, these companies vying for the ability to make a last swipe at an already disenchanted customer with some afterthought of a deal after he walks out the door? No competing company should be allowed to contact a customer to try to keep them AFTER the customer has initiated a change to another service provider and before they disconnect with the first provider. This thwarts competition and innovation as the first provider can sit on their thumbs until the customer is fed up enough to undertake the process of switching. It also sets up the perfect opportunity for the first provider to harass the customer (let's not forget AOL).

What is always overlooked in the discussion of competition among providers of telecom services is that it doesn't work in the same way as retail competition at, say, a grocery store. You don't routinely re-shop for telecom services and if this week the offer is not good simply go to another store. You've got this bit of infrastructure attached to you and a certain amount of bureaucracy involved in switching.

inteller
Sociopaths always win.

join:2003-12-08
Tulsa, OK

Windstream (Valor) did this shit too.

They are all scum.