Frontier targets cable, telephone customers with $500 Apple gift cards

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Frontier Communications (Nasdaq: FTR) is kicking up an aggressive subscriber acquisition campaign in which it is offering new subscribers Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) gift cards of up to $500 in value for switching to one of its double- or triple-play packages of subscription video, broadband Internet and voice service.

CEO Maggie Wilderotter told analysts on Frontier's third-quarter earnings call last week that the rural telco, which resells Dish Network (Nasdaq: DISH) programming, began a soft launch of the promotion in October. But the former Wink Communications chief said Frontier wanted to wait until after election day to ramp up its marketing effort.

"We didn't want this [Apple promotion] to get lost in the shuffle," Wilderotter said. "You're going to see the real push in our Frontier markets starting around the 10th and 15th of this month," she added.

Frontier has increased efforts at using surgical marketing to convince consumers to drop current cable and telephone providers for Frontier. In September, COO Dan McCarthy said that Frontier would target subscribers impacted by service outages and rate hikes.

"People don't wake up every day, and say, 'I want to switch broadband providers.' It's really about finding what is that lever to pull. Sometimes it's a message at a key point--it could be during an outage, it could be during change of prices for them. It could be there are some substandard speeds that are being offered," McCarthy said at a Goldman Sachs conference

Frontier, which acquired systems in the Northwest from Verizon (NYSE: VZ) in 2010, said that it lost 4,100 FiOS subscribers during the third quarter. Frontier also reported that it gained 27,300 satellite subscribers that are bundling Dish Network service.

For more:
- see the earnings release

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