Verizon Has Cold Words for AT&T

Verizon has issued a chilly response to AT&T’s announcement yesterday that it would sell bundled services in New York.

“Our bundled DSL offer is $29.95 period with no price jumps or surprises. One bill is available to millions of ourcustomers, not in just one state, and not ‘eventually,'” Verizon spokeswoman Bobbi Henson told “AT&T’s new offering is several popsicles short of a full box.”

The biting comments, which would sound at home in a political campaign, come after AT&T announced that the Verizon stronghold would be the first market for its new offering.

AT&T, based in Morristown, N.J., said it would offer DSL service (through Covad Communications) along with local and long-distance service to its customers in the Empire State, which an eye toward rolling out to a dozen other states.

It comes three months after AT&T sold its cable broadband unit to Comcast in a multi-million dollar deal. The partnership allows it to get back in the consumer high-speed Internet market, with lower overhead.

AT&T’s effort is accompanied by promotional offers. Standard DSL service costs $19.95 a month for the first three months and $39.95 a month thereafter. The premium DSL plan (which AT&T says is faster) runs $29.95 a month for the first three months and $49.95 a month after that. Both include a free installation kit and tech support.

Bundling of phone and high-speed Internet services is seen by nearly all major providers as essential to winning new subscribers and keeping existing ones. Customers like the plans because they can pay for all the services on a single bill and have a single point of contact for tech issues.

Joseph Laszlo, a senior analyst with Jupiter Research (owned by the same parent company as this Web site), cited price and the lack of one-bill (at least at the outset) as impediments to wresting business from Verizon, not to mention other DSL providers and cable broadband companies.

“Given that Verizon’s comparable voice/DSL package looks to be about $10 to $15 per month cheaper than AT&T’s, I think they will be forced to cut prices to at least match Verizon’s offering,” Laszlo said.

In other words, AT&T may have to add a couple of popsicles to their box.

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