Verizon Wireless and Time Warner Cable
have begun cross-selling each other’s products in Ohio, Kansas and North
Carolina even though the government has yet to close its review of the
marketing arrangement and a multi-billion dollar spectrum sale associated with
The companies said yesterday that
customers in Kansas City, Kan.; Raleigh, N.C.; and Columbus, Toledo and areas
of southwest Ohio would be able to purchase Time Warner’s video, Internet and
voice services and Verizon’s smartphones and tablets from both companies.
Customers who sign up for the bundled services may be eligible for a $200
prepaid debit card.
Verizon is buying $3.9 billion worth of
AWS spectrum from Time Warner Cable, BrightHouse Networks, Comcast and Cox
Communications. Along with the spectrum deal, the five companies also agreed to
market and cross-sell each other’s products.
The FCC is still reviewing the spectrum
transaction and has asked the five companies for information about the
marketing arrangement. The Justice Department is also said to be looking into
the marketing deals.
Verizon and its cable partners insist
that the cross-selling deal and spectrum sale are unrelated despite being
forged at the same time, a claim that has been repeatedly called into question
by opponents to the deal.
“They’re two separate issues,”
Verizon spokesman Paul Macchia says. “The spectrum has nothing to do with
the agreement between Time Warner Cable and Verizon Wireless.”
A spokesman for the FCC could not be
immediately reached for comment.
Verizon has said the FCC has no
jurisdiction over the marketing arrangement and has also pushed ahead with
cross-selling Comcast’s products in Seattle, Wash.; Portland, Ore., and the San
Francisco Bay Area.
The cross-selling agreements came under
intense scrutiny during a recent congressional hearing, when lawmakers asked
whether the deal amounted to a non-compete clause between Verizon’s FiOS
service and its partners’ cable offerings.