CenturyLink ramps up IPTV workforce in Phoenix

CenturyLink (NYSE: CTL) is beefing up its field technician workforce in Phoenix as it moves to bring its IPTV service to the area, one of the first former Qwest markets to get the new product.

Ken McMahon, CenturyLink's vice president and general manager of Phoenix operations, said it is hiring broadband and network technicians to conduct network upgrades to offer the services in the Phoenix area throughout the next two years. Currently, CenturyLink is offering the IPTV service in Chandler and Gilbert, Ariz..

"CenturyLink has made a significant investment in the area to upgrade our core network, data switches and components to bring Arizonans an exciting alternative service called Prism TV," McMahon said in a statement.

In December, CenturyLink began a soft launch of Prism in Phoenix, with plans to commercially launch the service in the city in the first half of this year.

Glen Post, president, CEO and director of CenturyLink, said during the Q4 2012 earnings call that Phoenix's "early results and impressions are favorable" and they "expect to enter a second legacy Qwest market in mid-2013." 

While CenturyLink entered the IPTV game later than other telcos such as AT&T (NYSE: T) and Consolidated Communications (Nasdaq: CNSL), it has been making progress with the service. In the fourth quarter, the telco added over 10,000 Prism IPTV customers, ending the quarter with a total of 115,000 subscribers. 

Post said that of the 45,000 new subscribers the company has added over the past year in the eight markets where the service is currently available, "over 50 percent were new subscribers or new customers to CenturyLink."

Similar to AT&T and TDS Telecom (NYSE: TDS), CenturyLink continued to see that customers who bundled video with voice and data services were less likely to churn.

"Prism TV continues to have a positive impact on churn and line loss trends," Post said. "We experienced greater than 90 percent broadband pull through rate with our Prism TV sales to new customers."

To stay on a competitive footing with cable, CenturyLink has introduced a number of new features and functions, including the expansion of its TV Everywhere capabilities and video-on-demand library as well as a trial of wireless set-top boxes.

For more:
Phoenix Business Journal has this article

Earnings roundup: Wireline telecom earnings in the fourth quarter of 2012

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