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Verizon Can't Use Number Ports To Win Back Landline Customers
Telco fails appeal effort of last year's FCC ruling...
by Karl Bode 01:26PM Tuesday Feb 10 2009
Last year, Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Brighthouse accused Verizon of sleazy tactics in the war over voice customers. According to the cable companies, Verizon was using number portability requests to pitch departing customers with free gift cards or other offers, then canceling the transfer if successful. Cable companies argued this violated FCC rules (pdf), which say that carriers cannot engage in "retention marketing" four days after the customer has made the decision to shift.

The FCC (with the unsurprising lone dissent of former boss Kevin Martin) ultimately sided with the cable industry, though Verizon -- prompted by millions of lost landline customers per quarter -- tried to overturn the ruling. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia today rejected Verizon's effort. "This looks like a loss for consumers, who now will have less information available when choosing between different competitors," complains the telco.

"We are pleased that the court reaffirmed the FCC decision that Verizon’s practices were illegal and harmful to consumers and competition," Comcast spokesman Charlie Douglas tells me. "Today’s ruling is a win for consumers who are saving billions of dollars a year because of the entry of cable companies into the local phone business," he says. "The decision will allow competition to continue to develop and ensure that consumers who choose to leave their incumbent phone provider will have their wishes respected."

A win for consumers? A loss for consumers?

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topics flat nest 

ropeguru
Premium
join:2001-01-25
Mechanicsville, VA

Huh??

How will this be a loss for consumers?? This effort by Verizon is to keep people from porting out their number to a different provider. Seems to me they would already be educated as to Verizon's services and pricing which is why they are probably leaving.

burgerwars

join:2004-09-11
Northridge, CA

1 edit

Re: Huh??

said by ropeguru:

How will this be a loss for consumers?? This effort by Verizon is to keep people from porting out their number to a different provider. Seems to me they would already be educated as to Verizon's services and pricing which is why they are probably leaving.
I agree. They're equating the loss of their customers to a loss for consumers. If their customers have made a decision and have learned about number porting, I think they're educated enough. If later on these customers aren't happy, they can always go back.

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

How will this be a loss for consumers??
I wouldn't call the practice necessarily sleazy, but I also wouldn't call it "right" either. Regardless, the consumer still always had the right to continue to switch to another provider or to remain with Verizon. If you look at it from the standpoint that the customer doesn't get a last chance for a retention discount, then they are losing out on something. Consumer options is never a bad thing.

NOZIREV

join:2008-07-10
New Bedford, MA

Can you blame them?

They lost 12.2 percent of there landline customers in 2008. That is pretty significant.
--
"Citius, Altius, Fortius" [Faster, Higher, Stronger]

mb

join:2000-07-23
Washington, NJ

Re: Can you blame them?

I'd be back in an instant if their non-promotional pricing became competitive.

POB
Res Firma Mitescere Nescit
Premium
join:2003-02-13
Stepford, CA
said by NOZIREV:

They lost 12.2 percent of there landline customers in 2008. That is pretty significant.
Too bad so sad.

DaveDude
No Fear

join:1999-09-01
New Jersey
kudos:1
Well if they lowered there price to one that was competitive , thats how they would win people back.

PapaMidnight

join:2009-01-13
Baltimore, MD

Re: Can you blame them?

And kept it low...
elray

join:2000-12-16
Santa Monica, CA
Reviews:
·Time Warner Cable
·EarthLink
said by DaveDude:

Well if they lowered there price to one that was competitive , thats how they would win people back.
In California, Verizon (GTE/Continental) didn't have a rate increase for the past 13 years. They didn't lose landline customers over rates. Many people just don't see the need for a landline when all calls are made on their (more expensive) cellphone(s).

Our Verizon landline is a tad over $17 a month. We keep it for full-duplex voice quality, call screening via answering machine, faxing, and reliable 911 service. It is no longer required for DSL, as the "naked" surchage is only $2/month.

Cableco has been very successful at wooing customers via triple-pay promotions, but those are temporary; telco will win customers back when the promotions expire and cableco refuses to negotiate similar discounts.
hottboiinnc
ME

join:2003-10-15
Cleveland, OH

Re: Can you blame them?

Cable Co's will let you renew your deals and promotions. Have you heard of the Retention Department, they're there for a reason.
Corydon
Cultivant son jardin
Premium
join:2008-02-18
Denver, CO
said by elray:

Our Verizon landline is a tad over $17 a month. We keep it for full-duplex voice quality, call screening via answering machine, faxing, and reliable 911 service. It is no longer required for DSL, as the "naked" surchage is only $2/month.
Don't know about other VoIP providers, but my Comcast line is full duplex, with better quality (even to UK mobile phones) than I ever remember getting with a landline. I prefer to use Comcast's (free) voicemail, but it works with answering machines too. And my fax. And 911 works just fine (yes, I've had to use it; yes everything came up perfectly on the other end). And it's never gone out in about 3 years. And if you want to screen your calls, caller ID is included as well.
--
"Science flies you to the moon. Religion flies you into buildings."

aaronwt
Premium
join:2004-11-07
Woodbridge, VA
said by NOZIREV:

They lost 12.2 percent of there landline customers in 2008. That is pretty significant.
I was one of them, but I also have Verizon Wireless, FIOS TV, and FIOS internet. So they didn't lose me to cable but to their wireless division.

lakerfan82

join:2009-01-30
Corona, CA

More competition?

I guess Verizon will have to start competing BEFORE a customer ports instead of AFTER. This should hopefully help competition...

en102
Canadian, eh?

join:2001-01-26
Valencia, CA

Re: More competition?

Its more of an issue of during.
--
Canada = Hollywood North
Angrychair

join:2000-09-20
Jacksonville, FL
Reviews:
·Comcast

Re: More competition?

No, the decision to port was already made, and the customer is simply waiting for the cogs of the system to turn far enough for their desire to manifest. Then, before the cogs even finish turning verizon is attempting to woo the customer back with deals they should have been providing right from the start.

The phone companies need to recognize the position they're in, and lower their prices as well as bundling all of the features they presently charge for into the base price of the phone line.

Why should I have to pay extra to have an unlisted telephone number, or caller id, or call waiting, or three way calling?
bgraham

join:2001-03-15
Smithtown, NY

Does Verizon even care?

Does Verizon even care about land line customers?

It seems to me they only care about cell phones and FIOS. I guess they will start pushing ads for their VOIP soon because they want those cable VOIP phone customers back so they can pay $45 a month for Verizon VOIP.
fiberguy
My views are my own.
Premium
join:2005-05-20
kudos:3

Re: Does Verizon even care?

Wrong.. wrong wrong wrong.

FiOS isn't in a large enough deployment to care only about FiOS and they certainly have a whole division that worries about cell phones. Many people make this mistake that a company/corporation the size as Verizon, sits around with a one or two track mind. Its like saying "why is X company trying to launch Y product when they need to update Z?" ... they've got people working on many and all areas of their business line.

Second, people don't go to cable for "VoIP".. they go to cable for an alternative to their phone companies. People are not seeking the technology, directly.. to the end users, it's a phone line, period.

But, I do agree that they want people on VoIP.. it's a cheaper service to operate with higher profit margins.

Be it cable or phone, they still need to make a certain about per active drop to the home in order to pay for and maintain their systems.. the BIGGEST chore ahead of them is figuring out how to migrate customers to that model from the current, outdated model. Cable is already doing that, to some point, with moving from an unlimited HSI service to that of caps and overages.

WeSRT4

join:2000-11-20
Mobile, AL

VoIP is superior

Unless you have a specific need for a traditional landline I can't understand choosing one over VoIP. With VoicePulse I get all the features that AT&T wants to nickel and dime me for; all for less than a basic landline.
me1212

join:2008-11-20
Pleasant Hill, MO

Re: VoIP is superior

true dat! with VoIPo i'm paing LESS than 1/3 of what i was with my POTS and getting 10x more.

fifty nine

join:2002-09-25
Sussex, NJ
kudos:2

2 edits

Re: VoIP is superior

I'm going on 7 years with VoIP. I've been a Vonage customer up to yesterday, but I'm in the process of switching to another provider. Will probably be CallCentric after VOIPo proved itself to be incompatible with my BSD firewall.

But I do realize its limitations -

- Dependent on your internet connection, so if your internet connection goes, so does your phone.

- Call quality isn't 100% the same as a POTS line

- Local numbers not always available. My NYC VoIP number confuses the heck out of the local pizzeria, lol.

- Doesn't work well with some devices that need a modem connection (older DirecTV receivers come to mind)

- Counts against your usage if you have caps

But VoIP is pretty good and I've used it as a landline replacement for years. I make a lot of international calls and it's a real money saver.

Dude111
An Awesome Dude
Premium
join:2003-08-04
USA
kudos:12

1 edit
quote:
Unless you have a specific need for a traditional landline I can't understand choosing one over VoIP. With VoicePulse I get all the features that AT&T wants to nickel and dime me for; all for less than a basic landline.
Yes but you have next to NO PRIVACY!!

Your phone going out over the net,you dont know if someone is listening!

VOIP is garbage,i would take a regular landline again ANYDAY over the crap we have now... (Service is horrible)

You can get the same deal w/sprint on a regular VERIZON line (unlimited US/Canada) and have MUCH BETTER QUALITY!

Pathfinder
Dazed Confused
Premium
join:2000-03-26
Mount Vernon, NY

Of course it's ok

for the cable companies to send salesmen to your door with promises of the moon when people cancel for FIOS.

vpoko
Premium
join:2003-07-03
Boston, MA

Re: Of course it's ok

said by Pathfinder:

for the cable companies to send salesmen to your door with promises of the moon when people cancel for FIOS.
There's no issue either with Verizon trying to win back their former customers, they're free to call their ex-customers all they want and try to get them to switch back. The problem is they can't hold up the switching process so they can try to save the customer.

Pathfinder
Dazed Confused
Premium
join:2000-03-26
Mount Vernon, NY

Re: Of course it's ok

Not according to anything I've read in the article. The claim is that by using the order information Verizon is violating privacy.
If you see any proof of your claim please point it out to me.

vpoko
Premium
join:2003-07-03
Boston, MA

1 edit

Re: Of course it's ok

said by Pathfinder:

Not according to anything I've read in the article. The claim is that by using the order information Verizon is violating privacy.
If you see any proof of your claim please point it out to me.
I think we're reading it the same way. The ruling is that information from the number-porting order is the proprietary information of the other carrier and can't be used by Verizon. That's fine. On the other hand, Verizon has their own records about the former customer (since they used to provide them with service). Nothing in the ruling says Verizon must never market to these people again using their own information, only that they can't use information contained in the number porting order.

Unhappy visitor

@comcast.net

STALE "Selected Forum Topics"

Please someone help.
I wrote admin over weekend, but still no email reply or fix.
Problem: for 10 days, the "Selected Forum Topics" that appears on the bottom right of the home page, has not been updated.
It is stale, old and looks very unprofessional.
This site looks like they don't give a damn.
Shame on whoever is responsible for this fiasco.
They should be fired.

MalibuMaxx
Premium
join:2007-02-06
Chesterton, IN

1 edit

wont come out for five days hmm?

If you (you being verizon) want to keep customers howbout servicing your copper...

I am again out of service for five days because some drunk hit our polls and aparently knocked our line loose.

Our power company got the poll back up on a sunday the day it was hit within 2 hours. Cable serviced the line hit within 5 hrs (once the poll was cleared). Why does it take verizon five days to come out and fix it???

Dont bribe me with gifts... bribe me with service... and I'll stay...

But because you dont care is why im leaving... and probably never coming back...

Dolgan
Premium
join:2005-10-01
Sun Prairie, WI
Reviews:
·Charter

Re: wont come out for five days hmm?

It takes 5 days because Verizon has cut its field tech force by 30-50% throughout the upper midwest in the last 2 years and they keep reducing our budget to help pay for FIOS deployments in other parts of the country. Most of Verizon's customers live in small to mid size towns{or are rural} in this market so there is not enough profit incentive for them to care about us anymore. Furthermore, the regulatory bodies in the upper midwest states are more concerned about AT&T's performance as they cover all of the large cities/have the largest population coverage and hence more political clout.

The public's only recourse is to file complaints with their regulatory bodies and hope that they will put pressure upon your serving telco to improve their service. People are more apt to simply switch providers{if it is an option} instead of taking their time to file a formal complaint{that is the small part of the public tthat actually knows they can file complaints with the regulatory bodies and how to file the complaints properly}.

Snickerdo
Premium
join:2001-02-28
Niagara Falls, ON
said by MalibuMaxx:

I am again out of service for five days because some drunk hit our polls and aparently knocked our line loose.
Our power company got the poll back up on a sunday the day it was hit within 2 hours. Cable serviced the line hit within 5 hrs (once the poll was cleared). Why does it take verizon five days to come out and fix it???
Wow, I'm truly shocked that you guys stateside don't have any laws or anything of that nature to ensure that telephone service is reconnected in a timely manner. Up here, if your landline is down for more than 24 hours, the telco can be fined up the ass. Something to do with it being a 'lifeline' service and all.

Five days is outright unacceptable. That's unheard of up here.
--
I swear that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second, Queen of Canada, Her Heirs and Successors, and that I will faithfully observe the laws of Canada and fulfil my duties as a Canadian citizen.

Dolgan
Premium
join:2005-10-01
Sun Prairie, WI
Reviews:
·Charter

Re: wont come out for five days hmm?

There are regulations, not laws. Most states have 24hr for OS and 48hrs for AS conditions, but all states have their own rules--there is no national policy. The fines are just factored in as the cost of doing business and cheaper than resolving the source of the trouble.

Verizon is affectioniately known as "The Sunshine Telephone Company" by many of the field techs because when the sun is shining there are relatively few troubles and the techs can keep up. Any time there is any amount of rain/snow/ice/heavy winds the network reliability deteriorates and the commitments get pushed out. The biggest 2 causes for missed commits that we see on the tickets are "Not Enough Manpower" and "No Overtime Authorized". Turns out Trinidad Aguirre was just another sack of hot wind when he took over the Central Region Ops and stated "We will always get today's work done today, no excuses..." Yeah right.
ctggzg
Premium
join:2005-02-11
USA
kudos:2

Learn how to say "no"

If they sucker you into staying, you deserve it. Let's not babysit stupid people.

vpoko
Premium
join:2003-07-03
Boston, MA

Re: Learn how to say "no"

said by ctggzg:

If they sucker you into staying, you deserve it. Let's not babysit stupid people.
Nobody's babysitting anyone, but I don't want Verizon delaying my switch while they have someone cold-call me. Do the switch, as mandated, and then market after.
jonquiljo5
Premium
join:2003-10-25
Novato, CA

Re: Learn how to say "no"

Verizon is learning the hard way that the tactics of the old telecom companies don't work anymore. Technology is changing and making many new options available.

Also, the economy has created a situation where people are forced to cut back and consolidate. Price gouging is no longer acceptable unless what they are offering is totally unavailable elsewhere and essential.

The only saving grace for all of them may be the new stimulus bill passed in the Senate today that calls for infrastructure spending in the expansion of rural broadband networks. If the house agrees to this, I bet Verizon stand to make quite a bit of money - provided that they open them up to the scrutiny that the new administration is demanding if you take money from Uncle Sam. Lets say it will be interesting at the least.

Companies like Verizon have long relied on keeping their books closed - for the most part - even to stockholders. They may be given the opportunity for a few golden cookies - with the caveat that they open their books for all to see. I would also expect that they would face much stricter federal regulation if they were to stick their hand into the new federal cookie jar. Whether they do so remains to be seen as they may have too much stuff to hide and choose to stay hidden.

goalieskates
Premium
join:2004-09-12
land of big

How can Comcast complain?

They did the exact same thing when we left them.

Then when we didn't bite, they cancelled our service early.

xpbx
220, 221, Whatever It Takes.
Premium
join:2000-11-08

2 edits

comcast calls verizon tactics "sleazy"

if that isn't the pot calling the kettle black, i don't know what is.