Telco Verizon, which has received criticism over early-termination fees administered by its FiOS pay-TV service as well as its separate Verizon Wireless business, announced Monday that new FiOS customers will now be able to buy bundles of video, data and phone service on a month-to-month basis at the same monthly price as customers signing a long-term contract.
Pricing for the month-to-month service, which had previously cost $20 more per month compared to contract-term bundles, is also guaranteed for a year with no early-termination fees. The basic FiOS bundles start at $99.99 per month before taxes, fees, set-top lease charges and premium program packages. New customers can save an additional $5 per month on FiOS bundles when ordering online.
Verizon says it is also expanding its "Worry-Free Guarantee" program, already launched in Florida and Pennsylvania, in which customers signing a two-year contract can cancel their service within the first 30 days with no termination fee. Signing a two-year deal also locks in the price for two years, says Verizon.
The Worry-Free Guarantee now covers new bundled customers in California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas, Virginia and the District of Columbia markets where FiOS is offered. The month-to-month option is available in those states, plus the FiOS markets of Indiana, Oregon, South Carolina and Washington, which are in the process of being shifted to Frontier Communications.
New customers will also receive EPIX or the FiOS TV Movie Package, which features more than 40 channels including Showtime, Starz, The Movie Channel, Encore and Flix, for free for a year with a triple-play bundle and free for three months with a double-play bundle. This matches the current FiOS TV Movie Package offer for new term-contract customers.
"We've listened closely to the market and heard potential customers say that FiOS offers faster, more reliable broadband service and crystal-clear TV pictures in any conditions, but that they want time to consider their switch from cable," said Mike Ritter, Verizon chief marketing officer for consumer wireline and business services, in a statement. "We want customers to know that the shift to FiOS is the best move they can make; that a two-year commitment provides them with price protection for their home-entertainment needs; and that our month-to-month pricing option and Worry-Free Guarantee help reduce anxiety from their decision."