Why I Like Duopoly

Our telecom bill is huge; for cable (no premium channels), cable modem, landline, and my iPhone, it’s about $250. I’ve tried to get AT&T to give me a deal on the landline and iPhone, but to no avail.

The cable company, however, will take over my landline at a total price for everything but the iPhone at $5 more than I now pay for the cable and modem alone. Admittedly, this is an introductory rate, but it rises by only $10 after one year.

I don’t like duopoly, but it’s better for me the consumer than a monopoly; and there are other threats — satellite TV, for example — that limit pricing even more. How can the cable company offer me a price for all the cable services only $5 above my current price? Easy — the marginal cost to them is tiny. The cable service is already there; but if I switched cable service to AT&T, they would lose a lot. This is a good move for them. I only wish I had switched earlier.

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  1. Marcelo Caldas says:

    I say drop it all… (or almost!)

    I’ve dropped cable about a year ago and I am very happy watching everything online. 95% of all I watch is freely available and the other 5%, well I used to spend around $50 on cable which I use now to rent movies, or buy tv shows on iTunes… Works great.

    Want more? Drop your land line… keep only the broadband. Have a good VOIP system… I personally use Magic Jack – works great. But there are many, many options out there…

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  2. Diogo says:

    Where I live, there are so many telco services companies that we get the feeling that the market is in true competition. However, the horrible truth is that only 2 companies have the infra-estructure and the services at the same time, that cover (almost) the entire population. The worst of it is that there is only one indicator of this in the advertising brochures and not everyone as the insight to acknowledge it: it’s the “lead time to connect” aka service delivery time. It’s 400%higher for the companies without infraestructure… Sad but true.

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  3. J. Daniel Smith says:

    I’m thinking about cutting back to just basic cable; I need to read more and watch less TV anyway. Although I would miss Gretchen Carlson and Megyn Kelly on FNC. :-)

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  4. right side of the river says:

    I’ve been tempted to drop cable altogether as well but the one thing I cannot find for free online (legally), and which is the primary reason why I got cable in the first place, is sports coverage.

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  5. mudlock says:

    I second Marcelo. I sat down and figured out how many shows I actually watch in a year versus what it would cost to buy them on iTunes, or to wait and get them through NetFlix. The savings was astounding. And that was before Hulu took off and before NetFlix added online streaming!

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  6. Beth says:

    Who pays for television any more? You must really like teenage “reality” shows.

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  7. Ben D says:

    I’m not sure your argument (duopoly is better than monopoly) is an argument for duopoly. Yet another false choice.

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  8. JimBob says:

    At the very least, drop the landline. With cable providing all your other services and your iPhone, what do you need a regular phone for? I haven’t had a landline in 4 years and have not missed it one bit.

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