Bundle Up to Save a Bundle

September 4, 2008 8:38:09 PM PDT
Thinking about bundling your phone, internet, and TV services? Thanks to competition among the big telecomm companies, now's the time. Nicole Hernandez was tired of paying different bills every month for her phone, internet, and TV services, "It was definitely a pain, the more bills you have, the more checks you write. The more everything."

So when Hernandez moved to her Northeast Fresno home, she decided to bundle her services with Comcast www.comcast.com/tripleplay. Now, she pays one bill and even better, saves money: "I thought 33 dollars for cable, 33 dollars for phone, 33 dollars for internet, I said really? She said yeah, I said, oh wow!"

Now she pays $99 a month compared to the $160 a month she was paying for each service separately. Companies like Comcast are all vying for customers' telecomm dollars. That means customers win. Bryan Byrd, spokesman for Comcast told us, "Our customers love the fact that they can save as much as 60 dollars a month by putting these services together instead of doing them individually. "

Providers are making it easier than ever. AT&T www.att.com customers, for example, can walk into any wireless store and sign up for a customized bundle, choosing as many as four services in one: TV, internet, phone, and wireless. AT&T's Jesus Olaguez, Jr. explained, "We have the four services, but if you only need the home phone and internet, or you only need the wireless and the internet, it's up to you. There are savings no matter how you bundle it. Obviously the more you bundle, the more savings will add up. If you bundle two, three, or four products, they are all gonna be at a better pricing than the individual standalone product."

But before you bundle up, Consumer Reports recommends comparing offers or contracts carefully. And pay attention so you don't end up paying more than you bargained for. Consumer Reports' Paul Reynolds warns, "Remember you are getting a bundled price and if you drop one of the services the rates may rise for the services you're still receiving."

So before bundling your phone, TV, and internet, here are important questions to ask: * Are there installation or activation fees?
* Will the rate change after a certain period of time?
* Is there a penalty fee if I decide to "unbundle"?


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