Comcast, Verizon Wireless to launch joint marketing effort

Posted: January 17, 2012

Moving quickly with their new partnership, Comcast Corp. and Verizon Wireless will launch in Seattle and Portland, Ore., on Tuesday a joint marketing program offering consumers bundles of wireless, cable-TV, landline phone, and residential Internet services.

The marketing program will extend to other markets this year and in early 2013, and the product rollout is likely to include Philadelphia. Though Comcast's Xfinity products will be sold through Verizon Wireless stores, Comcast will cross-promote Verizon Wireless services through call centers and online sites.

As part of the partnership, Comcast and Verizon Wireless will develop new products to stream content seamlessly between wireless and cable-TV/Internet platforms, said Tony Heyman, president of integrated media services at Verizon Wireless. The product development will be based in Philadelphia. But he added Monday, "This will take some time."

The partnership combines one of the nation's largest wireless companies, Verizon Wireless, with the largest pay-TV provider, Comcast.

Comcast's cable-TV franchise territories cover an area of the United States with 50 million homes. There are about 700 Verizon Wireless stores in those areas, all of which are expected to participate in the cross-promotion and selling.

Over the last month, Comcast and Verizon Wireless have been retraining their call-center employees to handle calls for the separate products.

Verizon Wireless is 55 percent owned by Verizon Communications Inc. and 45 percent owned by England's Vodafone GroupVerizon Communications. Comcast and Verizon Wireless officials say the partnership will have no effect on FiOS TV or Internet products that compete with Xfinity.

"Are we ambitious? Absolutely, we are ambitious," said Catherine Avgiris, senior vice president and general manager of communications and data services at Comcast.

The Verizon Wireless/Xfinity bundles will be promoted as "the best services for inside and outside the home," she said. The initial promotion in Seattle and Portland includes a pre-paid Visa card of $100 to $300 for those who sign up for Verizon Wireless/Xfinity bundles.

Avgiris will participate in the launch at eight Seattle-area Verizon Wireless stores Tuesday and will visit a Comcast call center in the Seattle area that has been designated to field Verizon Wireless-related calls. On Wednesday, she will visit a Verizon Wireless call center in Sacramento, Calif., designated to handle Xfinity questions.

Though the two companies will sell each other's products, Verizon Wireless will serve its wireless customers while Comcast serves Xfinity customers.

The partnership was announced in early December and was part of a deal in which Comcast and two other cable companies, Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks, sold wireless spectrum to Verizon Wireless for $3.6 billion.


Contact staff writer Bob Fernandez at 215-854-5897 or bob.fernandez@phillynews.com.

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