U.S. operator Cablevision confirmed that it is taking Verizon Communications to court, alleging that the company falsely advertised its Wi-Fi network as the fastest available in New York. The complaint was filed on 29 January at a federal court in Manhattan. Cablevision said Verizon recently launched an advertising campaign saying it has faster Wi-Fi than Cablevision, despite the fact that it has no public Wi-Fi hotspot network and that its in-home routers are not faster than Cablevision’s Optimum Smart Routers. Cablevision also noted that its routers are free, while Verizon is charging US $199.99 for its routers, which are limited to in-home use.
Last week we reported that Cablevision was planning to launch a Wi-Fi-based mobile voice, text and data service called Freewheel, leveraging its existing network of Wi-Fi hotspots throughout New York. Verizon owns entities in both the fixed and mobile sectors; Cablevision has fixed service only. By initiating this lawsuit, Cablevision appears to be launching a pre-emptive strike against a competitor and thus paving the way for a publicity campaign. Cablevision can be expected to have a hard enough time establishing in the public mind that a Wi-Fi network can be a legitimate substitute for cellular service without a fixed line competitor denigrating the quality of its signal.
“MNOs have long since been placed on the defensive by OTT services that provide near-equivalents to their services at lower prices. Now another non-traditional type of service, the Wi-Fi hotspot network, is making an incursion of its own into MNOs’ turf. In order to mount this challenge, cable providers will have to be aggressive. Cablevision’s lawsuit, whether well-founded or not, is certainly a sign that the company has the killer instinct to make this venture viable.”
The Tarifica Alert