Friday, February 6, 2015

Cablevision Takes Verizon to Court Over New York Wi-Fi Claims

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.”
John Dorfman,
The Tarifica Alert

The above item appeared in a recent issue of The Tarifica Alert, a weekly resource that analyzes noteworthy developments in the telecoms industry from around the world. To access all of the latest articles and issues or to speak with the research team:

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