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AT&T to DirecTV Customers: Let's Stick Together

By Peter Suciu
Aug 3, 2015 2:14 PM PT

AT&T on Monday announced its first-ever nationwide package of TV and wireless services. The new bundle, which is being offered for US$200 per month, will be available beginning Aug. 10. It will include HD and DVR service for up to four TV receivers, along with unlimited talk and text for four wireless lines. Subscribers to the plan will get 10 GB of shareable wireless data.

AT&T to DirecTV Customers: Let's Stick Together

AT&T is the only single provider to offer a plan that includes nationwide TV and wireless services via a single bill, the company noted.

"Today is the first of many planned moves to enable our customers to enjoy a premium entertainment experience almost anywhere," said Brad Bentley, chief marketing officer for AT&T Entertainment and Internet Services.

"We're going to deliver more TV and entertainment choices to more screens -- when and where our customers want it," Bentley added. "And we'll offer incredible value with more flexibility and convenience through our integrated packages that deliver a great experience."

DirecTV Tie-In

The new bundling of services -- a result of AT&T having completed its acquisition of DirecTV -- could pave the way for greater integration of the satellite-TV offerings, as well as a way to attract new customers who may want to pay for a single bill for entertainment content and data usage.

AT&T further announced that new DirecTV subscribers will have immediate access to programming via their mobile devices. This so-called "walk out and watch TV experience" will allow users to view content on compatible mobile devices. AT&T sales representatives will assist customers in helping set up the app at the store.

AT&T will offer DirecTV in more than 2,000 AT&T retail stores nationwide.

All-in-One and All Included

AT&T announced 12-month promotional pricing for two tiers in its new All-in-One service, available in 21 states. Its DirecTV Select or U-verse plan costs $50 a month, and its DirecTV Premiere or U-Verse U-450 plan costs $125.

Customers can add AT&T's coast-to-coast wireless services. There is also an "All-Included" pricing model for high-speed Internet plans, ranging from $30 a month for speeds up to 6 Mbps to $50 per month for speeds of up to 75 Mbps.

The key to understanding these plans may be realizing that this is a promotional offering, and prices could spike in just a year.

"There seems to be quite a bit of fine print regarding the 12-month stipulation," said Erik Brannon, senior analyst for U.S. television at IHS.

"On the video and broadband sides, it could be quite costly -- especially in year two," he told the E-Commerce Times. "But remember -- AT&T is focused on high-value customers who enjoy the convenience of dealing with one company."

Keeping the Audience

AT&T's strategy could be more about tying together AT&T and DirecTV in order to keep existing customers than about reaching out to attract new customers, or even attempting to bring cord cutters or so-called cord-nevers into the fold.

"These offers are really intended to consolidate and defend the existing base of AT&T and DirecTV subscribers -- in other words, the non-cord cutter market," said Joel Espelien, senior analyst at The Diffusion Group.

"Once they've addressed that in the combination, you'll see some reaching downward into the entry-level market as we've seen Comcast do to try and capture more millennials," he told the E-Commerce Times.

This latest bundle, which will include cellular and TV together, may not have much of an effect on the cord-cutting situation in the near future observed IHS' Brannon.

"Rather, it speaks to the company's initiative to drive high-value customers to subscription," he noted.

"The pro is that it turns customers toward a high-dollar service, but the con is the possible alienation of customers," Brannon cautioned. "Two hundred dollars for no-home broadband is expensive, and cord-cutters are already buying cellular service, so I'd be surprised if they are 'converted' back to TV customers with this bundle."

Peter Suciu is a freelance writer who has covered consumer electronics, technology, electronic entertainment and fitness-related trends for more than a decade. His work has appeared in more than three dozen publications, and he is the co-author of Careers in the Computer Game Industry (Career in the New Economy series), a career guide aimed at high school students from Rosen Publishing. You can connect with Peter on Google+.

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