Hello? Verizon just sold my landline: Now what?


To raise money to expand its growing wireless and fiber-optic divisions, Verizon sold 4.8 million landlines to Frontier in exchange for $5.25 billion in Frontier stock. The lines being sold include all Verizon landline customers in Arizona, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, South Carolina, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin, as well as some parts of California.

So what does this mean for you if one of those numbers being horse-traded is the one that rings in your home? Will your service be affected? What's going to happen to your rate -- especially if you'd been relying on Verizon to deliver your wireless, Internet and TV service in exchange for a discounted "bundle" rate?

A press release on Verizon's website promises a "seamless" switchover for customers but doesn't address what's going to happen to rates or the availability of discounts after the sale.

"Consumers would be well-advised to watch their phone bill to see if it changes in format or amount," says Martha Buyer, attorney and regulatory counsel for the Society of Telecommunication Consultants. It's entirely possible that customers with bundle discounts might wind up paying a la carte prices for each service. Since any changes will take between three and 12 months to implement, Buyer says, check the inserts in your phone bill in the upcoming months to see what, if any, deals Frontier will offer former Verizon customers.

If past history is any indication, landline holders might be in for a bumpy transition. When Verizon sold off its Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont lines to Fairpoint Communications last year, reports of billing glitches, overcharging and interrupted Internet service started making their way into the local media and consumer-complaint Internet forums.