time warner cable credit check

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Time Warner Cable Subscriber Growth Tanks (TWC)

Time Warner Cable (TWC), the second-biggest U.S. cable company, met financial expectations for Q4. But key subscriber growth metrics fell short of expectations.

Why? On the company's earnings call, CEO Glenn Britt outlined the three reasons:

  • The economy is weak; "that's not news to anyone." consumers are spending less.
  • Telco competition from AT&T (T) and Verizon (VZ) has expanded to a more significant fraction of footprint. TWC benefitted from same phenomenon when rolled out digital phone. (Wireless substitution also affecting phone sales, CFO Robert Marcus added later.)

  • Always balancing subscriber growth versus profits versus long-term quality of subscriber base, via marketing spend, credit policies, etc. Remained conservative on all of these.
  • Ad growth also fell off a cliff. Full-year ad sales increased 4% ($31 million) to $898 million, "due mainly to an increase in political advertising revenues, offset partially by declines in other categories." During 2007, ad revenues increased 31% ($203 million) to $867 million.

    Time Warner Cable was also the latest to write off a big chunk of its investment in high-speed wireless firm Clearwire (CLWR). Specifically, it took a $367 million noncash impairment on its $550 million investment; two-thirds of its investment. TWC said it expects to roll out a wireless service with Clearwire in at least one city this year.

    • Revenue: $4.4 billion vs. $4.4 billion consensus
    • EBITDA: $1.66 billion vs. $1.65 billion Goldman est.
    • Digital cable net sub. adds: 44,000 vs. 140,000 Goldman est.
    • Cable Internet net sub. adds: 113,000 vs. 189,000 Goldman est.
    • Digital phone net sub. adds: 137,000 vs. 180,000 Goldman est.

    Breaking the Time Warner Cable habbit.

    How to reduce your Time Warner Cable Costs

    A few months back…..I received a letter from Timewarner Cable advising that my contract term had ended and that my bill was only going to increase $25 a month. I had to ask, What am I going to get for that extra $25 a month? Yes, absolutley nothing. So, I called and spoke to many folks at TWC.

    I hate automated answering services, and I think the worst one out there belongs to TWC. After being switched from person to person, I finally ended up talking with the “retention department”. They agreed to lower my monthly rate to $150ish per month for home telephone, regular roadrunner interenet, and the one step above basic cable television package (no Showtime, HBO, etc). I was satisfied because this reduced my bill approximately $50 a month…. This was not a contract price.

    Soon my monthly rate was back on the increase. When I called to ask why, I was told that I was not under contract and prices had risen. Wow! My new $159 a month bill was still less and I floated along.

    Last month, I received my TWC bill and it was well over $160. At the same time, I had received a flier from Direct TV. I called Direct TV, surfed the web for other service providers, and generally did a lot of research. I found that no one offered internet service at my address with download speeds faster than 3 mbps. So, I decided to breakup my bundled service package.

    I called Direct TV and told them I wanted the $29.95 a month deal with free DVR and up to 4 receivers. They gladly signed me up and asked if I wanted to bundle my services with them. Direct TV works with windstream in this area for home phone and internet service. I explained to the “bundle specialist” that Windstream did not provide the level of internet service I wanted. 3 mbps is tooo slow! The “specialist” told me that they had access to service from Windstream that I could not get. I told him that I had called Windstream myself and they did not have the 12 mbps service he was offering me. Well, I failed to listen to my gut and signed up.

    The day of installation came, and the Direct TV installer was awesome. A real nice young man who had recently served in the military. He did a great job! After he left, I checked my email and I had one from Windstream. The email asked me to call a certain number to verify I “owned” my home telephone number. In fine print it also stated that they would be installing 3 mbps interenet service because that was all they offered at my address.

    I blew a head gasket. The phone and internet install was supposed to happen that morning. I went to my telephone and it was dead. I went to my pc…. no internet. ARGH! I got my trusty cellphone out and called Direct TV. The conversation was…intense. I threatened to have them come remove the dish and all of the components. Then I found out that my $29.95 a month did not include DVR service, HD service, and my true montly cost was $49.95 a month. Yes, another ARGH! After questioning their advertising, I was told that the equipment was free but the service was not…. it is in the fine print. Trust me …. it is. The agent from Direct TV agreed to lower my monthly rate to $24.95 a month for 12 months. It will go back to $49.95 month 13.. but she encouraged me to call at the end of 12 months and ask for a better price.

    The installer called and walked me through reconnecting my phone and internet I service. I then started searching for a home telephonse service provider. The rates at Windstream were too expensive ($50+ per month). Finally, someone told me that Verizon Wireless offered home phone service. I called and for $9.95 a month I could add home phone service to my account. There was a $25 fee to set this up. They sent me a small black box and for $9.95 a month I now have home phone service with caller ID, answering service, and nationwide long distance. This service uses minutes from my calling plan, but I have friends and family and lot’s of leftover minutes each month.

    This week I received my first stripped down bill from TWC. My internet service was $67.90 plus tax. What? It was supposed to be $53.40. I even had the transcript of my conversation with “Cody” to prove it. I called TWC and asked why! Did I mention that I hate the automated answering service at TWC? I was told that the price I was given had expired on 8/31/12 and they had gone up. Part of this $67.90 charge was for my wireless router ($9.95 a month). I got in my car and went and bought a souped up router for $99.95.

    I installed the router yesterday. The router set-up went well, but my computer would not connect to the internet. I called TWC, did I mention I hate their automated answering service, and spoke to a real nice guy in technical support. He told me that I was supposed to turn in the cable moderm I had two weeks ago, and that I had to take my old modem and router back to TWC. He said that they would in turn give me the correct modem. I still do not understand this because the old modem and router worked just fine. Anyway, I went to TWC with a bag full of cables, plugs, and electronics. The lady at the local office, 15 minutes away, was uber nice. She took all of the old stuff and gave me a new small box with a power cord. I would like to digress for a moment here. Everytime I have had a problem with a cable box, remote, or other TWC component I will go to their store and they give me a used component in return. Most of them look well worn and most of them don’t last. Anyway, I took the new box home.

    I connected everything and all components were on line surfing the web in less than 5 minutes. The only difficult component was my HP wireless printer. It has always been fussy, but it was quite difficult getting it connected. Finally, I reinstalled it and all worked well from there.

    So, I probably spent about $200 in initial fees, new router, and gas busting up the TWC bundle. I spent at least 10 hours on the phone, in the car, or surfing the web for lower cost services. In the end, my new bills are as follows: $24.95 for Direct TV ( and I love it), $9.95 for home phone, and $57.95 for internet. Total cost per month = less than $95 a month. This is a savings of $65 a month. It will take three months to make up for the $200 spent, but after that i can use the savings to buy….16 gallons of gas or groceries for a week, or save it for a rainy day.

    After making these changes, I have received numerous telephone calls and email messages from TWC offering much lower prices. I do not understand this! Why did they not do this when I called the first time? Now I am under contract and cannot take advantage of these offers. This make no sense.

    If you are interested in signing up for Direct TV, let me know. I have a couple of $100 credits that expire 10/3/12. The DVR is a “whole house” unit. We can watch recorded shows on any set in the house. I also love the NFL Sunday ticket which is FREE!

    The Verizon home phone works great. The only difference I have noticed is the ring tone is shorter. It has battery back up and does just what they say it will do. My handsfree handsets seem to have a much longer range from the base unit now…

    I would also like to add this event to my post.. One of the ladies I spoke to at TWC was rude and I could not understand what she was saying. After asking her several time to repeat herself she accused me of taping the conversation…. (weird). I asked to be transferred to another agent, was put on hold, and the call was cut off. That night a TWC agent called to ask me to give them back my cable televsision business. At that point I had already contracted with Direct TV. I explained to him how disappointed I was in the way I was treated by the phone rep that day. Along the way, I spoke with several TWC employees that were pleasant and helpful. The lady that accused me of taping our conversation was likley just having a bad day….