All's Not Fare in Love & Poach?

The Federal Communications Commission has determined that telco Verizon had unlawfully utilized private customer information to persuade its phone customers, who were planning to switch their allegiance to a cable operator -- possibly for the quadruple bypass (video, broadband, land line and wireless) -- not to switch to said cable company, Comcast, in this case, through the promise of gifts in the form of discounted services.

How it works: when a service subscriber switches from one provider to another, the interloper contacts the old provider to have the customer's phone number transferred to them. The process takes several days. During the transference period Verizon struck and dissuaded consumers from leaving the motherboard by showering them with gifts, i.e., more services -- even enhanced services -- for fewer monthly fees. Imagine that: carriers and cablers fighting over subscribers and the consumer benefiting.

What's next on the FCC's fair competition agenda: augmenting the early termination penalties for consumers that opt out of their wireless contract prematurely.



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