Frontier Communications has grabbed headlines with its plans to build fiber to more than 10 million locations across the country, but another major transformation is underway at the company. Behind the scenes, Consumer EVP John Harrobin said it’s been working to overhaul its product portfolio and customer experience. And, taking a page from T-Mobile, Harrobin said Frontier’s strategy centers on becoming the “un-cable” option in the market.
According to Harrobin, Frontier’s approach is focused on simplifying its offerings and eliminating customer pain points. Already it has streamlined its portfolio to go from “hundreds of different price plans that resulted in confusing, inconsistent bills” to just three consumer tiers. It also added digital capabilities and beefed up its in-home Wi-Fi delivery by utilizing Amazon eero.
“As the challenger company in the market – similar to T-Mobile’s the un-carrier, we’re the un-cable challenger – we rearchitected the entire customer experience to identify cable’s most prolific pain points and just did the opposite,” Harrobin explained.
He noted a major move for Frontier was the pivot to flat pricing. This refers to a pricing model which maintains a consistent rate over time rather than dramatically increasing a consumer’s bill after a promotional period, usually of 12 or 24 months. Harrobin said Frontier’s research identified this price jump as the number one pain point for customers.
“So, we said we’re not going to do it,” he said. “It doesn’t mean we’re not going to increase prices. We’re going to increase prices for certain. But we’ll do it on a more human, logical, natural progression versus doubling the price after one or two years.”
Harrobin said the move has resonated with customers since Frontier made the switch last year, allowing it to boost its net promoter score and reduce voluntary churn. He noted the approach also gives Frontier a base of customers who it can gradually step up in price to achieve its APRU goals.
Though fixed wireless access (FWA) services from T-Mobile and Verizon have been gaining steam in the broadband market, Harrobin indicated Frontier isn’t feeling the pressure – at least not in its fiber markets. Specifically, he noted fixed wireless is not impacting its churn or gross adds in areas where it has fiber.
That said, he acknowledged Frontier has seen FWA “nibble on the edges” in its copper markets, not by stealing share through churn but by winning new customer toss-ups that otherwise would’ve gone to Frontier. Harrobin concluded the best way to combat this is to roll out fiber as quickly as possible and do what it can to shore up the experience for copper customers until its improved service arrives.