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Thursday, November 15, 2012

Comcast, Verizon Wireless to sell each other’s services in New Hampshire

Comcast and Verizon Wireless are about to start selling each other’s services in southern New Hampshire, including in Verizon Wireless stores, expanding a partnership born out of a complicated regulatory deal.

The two companies will start offering a package combined with various incentives, including free equipment, upgrades and cash. Verizon Wireless has done this in other parts of the country with Comcast as well as Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks. ...

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Comcast and Verizon Wireless are about to start selling each other’s services in southern New Hampshire, including in Verizon Wireless stores, expanding a partnership born out of a complicated regulatory deal.

The two companies will start offering a package combined with various incentives, including free equipment, upgrades and cash. Verizon Wireless has done this in other parts of the country with Comcast as well as Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks.

The combined-service packages can be bought at Verizon Wireless stores in Nashua and surrounding New Hampshire towns. They are not yet available at Comcast offices, which are used by customers mostly to pay bills, although that may change.

The arrangement is the offspring of Verizon’s December 2011 purchase of those cable companies’ wireless spectrum for $3.6 billion.

Because of Justice Department concerns, the deal is not available where Verizon offers FiOS fiber-to-the-home TV service, which includes large parts of Massachusetts. FairPoint owns the former Verizon landline service in New Hampshire, including the fiber service it has rebranded as FAST, so that is not an issue here.

Verizon Wireless made the 2011 spectrum purchase to meet growing demand for high-speed wireless broadband and so-called 4G products. It said the 122 spectrum licenses could serve a potential 259 million additional customers.

The purchase was part of a continuing scramble to make use of one of the most valuable commodities in today’s technology: The legal ability to send data over certain frequencies in certain parts of the country to connect smartphones, tables or laptop computers.

Many of these licenses are owned by television broadcasters but no longer needed because of the switch to digital TV, which uses much less spectrum. The push to control more of these licenses has been behind lots of huge business deals, including the failed attempt by AT&T to purchase T-Mobile and Sprint’s takeover of Clearwire.

The Verizon Wirless spectrum purchase came with an agreement for joint marketing of television, phone and data services among Verizon and other cable providers. U.S. Justice Department agreement kept it out of areas where Verizon’s landline services include FiOS TV.

New and existing customers of Comcast and Verizon Wireless could be eligible for a variety of offers and incentives, including prepaid cards valued up to $300, a Comcast HD DVR at no cost for six months, and a free 12-month upgrade to Blast, the Xfinity Internet service that provides download speeds of up to 50 Mbps. Existing Comcast customers who purchase Verizon Wireless through Comcast can get $10 off their monthly bill for a year.

For more information, existing Comcast customers can call 1-855-704-7400, visit www.comcast.com/vzw, ask at Verizon Wireless Communications stores, or check www.verizonwireless.com/xfinity.

David Brooks can be reached at 594-6531 or dbrooks@nashuatelegraph.com. Also, follow Brooks’ blog on Twitter (@Granite
Geek).