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AT&T to Integrate U-verse TV with Other Services


13/03/2008

America’s biggest telecom provider, AT&T Inc., is looking for new ways to bundle its U-verse IPTV service with telephone, broadband, and wireless offerings, so as to give its customers the convenience of paying for all their media and communications needs on a single bill.

“By the end of the year it will really be different,” said AT&T’s senior vice president of consumer marketing, Michael Antieri, at the recent Bear Stearns & Co. Inc. conference. “From all of our research, we’ve found consumers want seamlessness across all services; they don’t want separate capabilities.”

This type of integration wouldn’t be limited to just billing, and would allow customers to use multiple services in unison. One example would be to add a “video locker” function to AT&T’s mobile video share service, which allows customers to share live video back and forth in real time. This would mean that bundled AT&T customers could upload video content to be viewed on other devices such as a Personal Computer or home television.

Also feasible in a converged atmosphere would be integrated voice communication plans covering all devices, whether they be fixed-line telephones or wireless handsets. Combinations of fixed and wireless broadband would also be possible.

U-verse TV, which is already sold alongside high-speed internet services, currently has a 90% broadband attachment rate, Antieri told analysts in another recent meeting. This means that nine out of ten U-verse TV customers also subscribe to AT&T’s high-speed internet services.

Another encouraging statistic, according to Antieri, is that 60% of new U-verse TV customers previously subscribed to cable television services, demonstrating the service’s effect on the competitive environment.

“When we launch in a market we see more competitive activity after we launch versus before we launch,” Antieri said, noting that the growth of U-verse is beginning to affect to cost of cable services.

AT&T currently has approximately 231,000 U-verse TV subscribers and hopes to have more than 1 million by the end of this year.



 

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