Verizon is allowing you to create your own broadband and TV package, but don't expect a big discount.
Verizon is introducing a new more customized pricing model for its Fios TV service that allows customers to choose some of the channels and services they want in their TV package. The company says the change simplifies pricing, but it could end up being more expensive for many subscribers.
In connection with the new Mix & Match on Fios pricing model, Verizon is doing away with the long list of extra expenses, such as video franchise fees, regional sports fees and other charges that show up on cable bills. Instead, those costs are calculated into the price of the service. Verizon will also eliminate annual contracts.
"The price you're quoted is the price you'll pay," said Angie Klein, vice president of consumer marketing for Verizon. "This is what consumers have been telling us they want. They want more choice and visibility into what they're paying for."
Here's how it works. Customers first choose the services they want, including broadband, TV and phone service. If they're getting internet, they choose from one of three speeds: 100 Mbps for $39.99, 300 Mbps for $59.99 or the Gigabit Connection for $79.99.
Customers who want TV have a few new options. One option is to choose five of their favorite channels and let Verizon pick an additional 100 channels based on their interests. The cost is $50 a month, plus $12 a month to rent a set-top box. Customers can also subscribe to YouTube's streaming service for $50 a month and get 70 channels of live TV, including local sports and news.
Customers who are interested in a traditional TV package with hundreds of channels can still get that, but it will cost them. Verizon is offering a TV package that includes 300 channels for $70 a month, and its largest package -- 425 channels -- is priced at $90 a month. These bigger bundles include the monthly cost of one set-top box rental. Customers subscribing to the biggest TV bundle also get a $12 credit for DVR service.
Home phone service can be added to any package for an additional $20 a month.
The new Mix & Match offering moves us a little closer to an a la carte TV future, when we might choose channels one by one. But Verizon's offering still is more a set of package deals, the company said.
While Verizon says the change gives customers more choice, it's also likely to make service more expensive. This is especially true for customers who have taken advantage of promotional offers. For instance, Verizon just ended a holiday promotion that included gigabit broadband and TV service for $69.99 for two years. Under the new pricing model, a subscriber signing up for gigabit broadband service and 300 channels of Fios TV service would pay more than double that promotional offer.
The new pricing model comes as the entire pay TV market is facing intense pressure from streaming services that allow customers to cut the cord on traditional TV services. Instead of the tons of channels they never watch, consumers have been opting for streaming services like Netflix and Disney Plus. The trend is likely to pick up steam in 2020 as new TV streaming services arrive in the next few months, including NBC's Peacock, HBO Max and the Quibi service.
Updated 8:56 a.m. PT: Added details on the TV packages available.