Bundling Internet, TV and Phone: Is It Worth It?

Most people have heard about the option of bundling such services as TV, phone and internet together under one provider to save money each month.  There are even websites dedicated to helping you find a bundled package in your area.

Bundling has been an increasingly new way to find savings on such services and ways to bargain with your existing providers.  An article in Consumer Reports magazine recently reported bundling is “increasingly a buyer’s market.”  Some companies such as AT&T and Verizon have offered customer incentives to make the switch from existing providers.

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Overall, it’s not a bad deal in my opinion.  You can save a little money and still get the same services.  Let’s discuss the pros.

Pros Of Bundling

By letting one company manage the support of these services (TV, phone and internet), you can save money, time, and sometimes avoid frustration in dealing with multiple customer service departments.

Need more proof?  A Consumer Report survey says “bundling has satisfied many.”  “Overall, 85 percent of Consumer Reports readers who get all three services from one provider said they’d probably (50 percent) or definitely (35 percent) do it again with the same company.”

If you’re dealing with some of the larger companies, such as AT&T and Verizon, you may also have the option of bundling and additional service, your cell phone service.  Having one point of contact in dealing with everything (and one bill each month) can definitely provide more convenience.

Cons Of Bundling

Certainly, bundling services isn’t for everyone.  Consumer Reports also mentions some services available to people in their particular area just didn’t offer the services that interested them.  For example, you may love your internet and phone, but don’t have much of a desire for satellite TV.  Depending on the provider, different bundling packages are available.

Also, some of these providers have been focused on offering single services for much of their history.  Now they’re faced with supporting three or more which requires quite a few changes to their billing and customer service departments.

Personally, I’ve encountered a few issues where I’ve called customer service, but been transferred to another group who had more expertise in working my issue.  It wasn’t too big of a deal, but did take longer to resolve the problem.

Consumer Reports mentions some customers face billing issues with taxes and fees they didn’t expect.  I’ve experienced some pain here too.  When I received my first few bills it was quite difficult to make out all the charges and how they were organized.  However, I’ve learned the best thing to do in this situation is to continue to ask questions until you understand everything.

Overall, I’m a fan of bundling.  I do think it is a good way to save money and time.  Insurance is often approached in the same way.  Bundling your insurance for home and car insurance is just another example that works.  So, why not do the same thing with TV, phone and internet?

Best Packages

What are the best bundle packages to look for in your area?  The Consumer Reports National Research Center says that fiber-optic services such as Verizon FiOS and AT&T U-verse are the best overall providers.  Look for these first.  However, look for smaller cable companies like Wow and Bright House Networks as they also did well in comparison in a recent study.

Tips for Shopping Deals

There are a number of things to keep in mind when shopping for the best package to meet your need.  Consider the following when researching:  TV programming, internet speed and phone features.

As with most things, try to understand your particular needs before researching.  Do you really need caller ID?  How much are you on the internet?  Do you only check email or never download media?  Then, you probably don’t need to pay for premium internet packages.

It’s important to do some research.  Visit the websites of some providers and see what they offer.  But, also make sure you pick up the phone and call to talk to someone who can help you get the best deal.

Finally, I like the 3 quote rule.  Have your specific needs quoted by 3 providers and weigh them against each other.  And definitely get a copy of any agreement sent to you via email or note the agreement and who you spoke with on the phone.  Compare these notes to your first bill when you receive it in the mail.

What has been your experienced with bundling TV, phone and internet services? If you haven’t bundled these services, what’s keeping you from doing so?

Source:  Consumer Reports Magazine

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Last Edited: 20th December 2013

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  1. says

    We had a bundle package for several years and were happy with it. However, when we needed to cut our expenses it was one of the first things to go. The package included way more than we needed. I think if you watch a lot of television and talk on the phone a lot, particularly long distance, then bundle packages are a good idea. Just be sure you aren’t paying for a bunch of services you don’t really care about.

  2. says

    For me it comes down to how much time I want to spend. It may be cheaper not to bundle but it takes more time. Yesterday I called comcast and got my girlfriend’s Internet bill reduced from 63 to 25. Not bad for 20 minutes of time.

  3. says

    Jason,
    This post made me jealous.
    I can’t get cable, we have no phone lines, and our internet costs more than most people pay for all three combined.
    I would love to combine all these fancy bits of technology … Do it if you can!

  4. says

    We bundle our internet and phone package, saving us $10-20/month. We would consider bundling our TV as well, and we’d probably end up saving another $10 a month eventually, however, we prefer not to have the direct TV dish on our house (and it’s problematic for our homeowner’s association). In addition we’re currently on a reduced rate year long premium package deal for cable TV, and for now it is probably cheaper to have cable anyway.

  5. says

    We don’t bundle, because we did’t watch a lot of cable or use our landlines very often. Therefore, we cancelled both!

    Since a lot of the calls we received were from telemarketers anyway, we decided that we didn’t need the landline anymore. Friends and relatives could just reach us using our cell phones.

    And because we only got cable to watch 2-3 channels, we decided to cut it off and save some money. Instead, we bought an HD antenna that gives us more channels than regular tv and borrowed dvds.

    However, if there are cheap bundling services for internet and cell phone service, we just might look into that.

  6. Noah says

    I, like other posters, found paying for a land line and cable unnecessary, so internet is the only thing we pay for. Cell phones and skype (few bucks a month for unlimited calling anywhere in US) have replaced land lines and the internet has replaced cable. Between Hulu, network websites, and bittorrent, as long as you have internet, you have access to much more than your cable provider can give you, plus, you don’t need to pay that extra cost for a DVR.

  7. says

    Up until recently, bundling was always a bad deal for us. There is no reason that a basic landline should cost $30, which is about what most bundle “deals” offer. We have an answering machine, so we need a phone that rings and, potentially, has call waiting. If you call the phone company and ask for a basic line, they try to sell you a basic package. You clarify and it ends up being (in my experience) between $10-15 a month.

    Then there’s Internet. Back when we had Comcast internet, you could type in “Comcast special” and find an intro offer for $19.99 for the first six months. Call up when that runs out and try to cancel, you’ll get $29.99 for another six months. At that point, you can usually switch it into someone else’s name — for example, my mom agreed to start an account — and by the time they’re done with the deal, you qualify as a new customer all over again.

    But now we live where our only other option is Cox Cable. It’s got terrible specials on too-high prices. So I got a good one-year deal from Qwest that gives me $25 DSL internet and $25 for a landline, which is still less than Cox would charge us just for a cable modem. Then, because we couldn’t get Dish thanks to our apartment’s location, we ended up with DirecTV. Which also bundles with Qwest. All in all, we pay just under $100 for cable, internet and a landline with unlimited long distance. And I’m told that, if I’m happy with it at the end of the year, I can sign a contract and lock in the rates.

    So, I guess it just depends what your other options are. Still, it’s best to look at what you actually *need* from the bundle before assuming it’s a good deal because all the prices are low.

    • says

      I think you’re 100% right, you need to figure out what your situation is, figure out if bundling is a good deal, and if it is – go for it. If you can find a better deal by buying individually, do that instead!

  8. Cari says

    I have Verizon FIOS and bundle my Internet, phone, and TV. I’ve had it for about 3 years, and bundling is saving me a little bit of money and a lot of headaches and time. When I first ordered it, it was about $30 a month more than what I was paying individually, but I had dialup Internet and limited long distance. The high speed Internet and unlimited long distance is worth the extra $$ for me, because I’m self-employed and use both for work. I have had both Time Warner Cable and Comcast, and their customer service (and TV service in general) was terrible, so I was glad to switch. I need a landline because I use a fax machine for my business. I deduct part of my phone and Internet as a business expense, too, so I guess the money evens out in the long run.

  9. says

    My brother has Verizon. Fios internet, TV, phone. His bill is around $245/month. that is a lot of money in my book. I don’t see how that is “saving money” as Verizon puts it.

    I save money by not having the Verizon TV option. My dsl internet is locked in at $15/month…. and my phone is usually about $45-50/month.

  10. says

    If I could save money by bundling, I’d make it work regardless of personal preferences.

    However, I would not get a home phone just to bundle.

    There is no real need for a home phone line anymore.

    Try MagicJack or one of the million other gadgets out there that provide you with the same service at a fraction of the cost.

    • says

      A home phone may not be necessary for you, but don’t forget about the elderly who depend on reliable 911 service (landline). Also, there are many employers, and creditors out there who require a person to have a home phone, even if they already have a cell phone.

      Don’t waste your money on MagicJack. You can get unlimited calls in the U.S. through Skype for $2.99 /mo. (about $36 /yr), and if you really need a normal telephone for it Skype has those too. In the end it’s cheaper if you want to go the route of having to be tethered to your computer when making a phone call.

  11. says

    I enjoyed your post. We do not bundle because we are getting a better deal with each provider and is cheaper than bundling with one provider. But we are all for saving money. If you are getting the same services at a better price, take it.

  12. Chuck Cory says

    This is off subject, but Peter Anderson mentioned that having a Satellite Receiver would be problematic with his homeowners association. Home Owners Associations may not, by Federal Law (under FCC rules) keep you from having a Satellite Dish or tell you where to place it. If they have a problem with where you want to place it, they must go to the FCC and justify their concerns. Be a good neighbor but know your rights.

  13. says

    This is a good article, and I know it’s hard to cover all the bases in terms of the pros and cons of bundling services. When thinking of the “best bundle” it really is best to forget about company names. The problem with this approach is not every company will be available in your area.

    It’s best to search for phone, and cable providers (these are the companies that bundle) in your location, and go from there in comparing attributes most important to you, such as price, customer service, quality etc.

    Another point this article didn’t mention, and that I think would be helpful for people to know is cutting out certain features is likely to only lower your price by a very small fraction. The best way to get a lower price is to look at the technologies involved. For example, digital phone service is much cheaper than a landline in all cases, and in most cases has many more features, and the list goes on.

    Also, while there is no argument bundling is much more convenient than having separate bills and companies to deal with, it isn’t always cheaper. A VoIP phone line can help reduce the cost, and maximize efficiency when you consider some can be less than $15 per month for unlimited calling, and it uses the Internet you’re already paying for. 3Mbps or slightly higher Internet is generally pretty inexpensive, and if you wanted to get bare bones TV, Dish Network offers a family plan with 40 channels for $19.99 stripped down. If you wanted to deal with multiple providers one can literally get a good three unit elective utility package for less than $80 /mo.

  14. says

    1-I notice there is no charector limitations but I’m sure there are, what not be honest and tell us what the limit is? If you work for yourself and have a bad month and you can’t afford Telephones, internet, Direct tv and your mobile phone, so you try to pay all the bills you can, but you can’t pay internet. Thanks now to unregulated Bundleing. The company you bundled with will shut Off your home & office phones, Fax, Cell phone, Internet, email as well as your Direct T. All your cummunication services have been TOTALY SHUT DOWN and there is no time knowing when any (all of it) will be turned back on. Unfortunately this happened to me and when I needed the phones and internet most $47 of the several hundred dollar bill kept me from keeping my doors open. THIS NEEDS TO BE REGULATED and the control needs to be made fair the the clients. For over 20-years I had no missed bills but it didn’t matter, BUNDLING was the TRUMP CARD, If anyone in any of the bundleing groups feels I am inaccurate, misleading or even lieing, PROVE MY STATEMENTS ARE FALSE, SOME BUNDELER PROVE to us that everything or anything I claim is not true, Show your cut off bills and the turn on bills, what your monthly bill was and what you had to pay to get the bundle pkg. turned back on. These items are all cheaper because they are not Government Regulated, they are way cheaper, one service by one service. You don’t even have to Bundle to save the same money. Why allw these companies to bundle your bill as one bill and if you can’t pay a part of it, ALL YOUR SERVICES are shut off. How can a small business be able to survive getting the shaft from a SCAM called Bundling. This should be against the law, AT&T is the worst at skirting the intents of the laws by interpreting the few laws the way that bennefiets AT&T

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