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The deal would give AT&T a an additional 20 million TV subscribers

Just as the tech industry, lawmakers, and consumers are trying to grapple with the scope of Comcast’s $45 billion purchase of Time Warner Cable (TWC); AT&T is making waves with a huge acquisition of its own. AT&T announced today its intentions to purchase satellite TV provider DirecTV for $48.5 billion.
The deal, which will be comprised of both stock and cash, was first rumored early this month and isn’t too terribly surprising as AT&T and DirecTV currently work together to provide bundled phone, internet, and TV service.
According to the USA Today, AT&T currently has 5.7 million customers on its homegrown TV service, U-verse; but the DirecTV acquisition would give it an additional 20 million TV subscribers. For comparisons sake, the combined Comcast-TWC would have 30 million TV customers.

[Image Source: Fox News]
If the deal is approved, AT&T would offer bundled high-speed internet, TV, phone, and mobile services though all of its 2,300 branded retail stores and its numerous authorized dealers.
“This is a unique opportunity that will redefine the video entertainment industry and create a company able to offer new bundles and deliver content to consumers across multiple screens – mobile devices, TVs, laptops, cars and even airplanes,” said AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson. “At the same time, it creates immediate and long-term value for our shareholders.”
Other details about the merger include AT&T’s intentions to abide by the FCC’s net neutrality rules for three years following the deal’s approval. AT&T has also made it clear that it plans to expand its broadband service to 15 million customers (mainly in rural areas). In addition, AT&T will offer standalone broadband speeds of “at least 6 Mbps” to customers who are currently served by its wireline IP broadband service and don’t wish to partake in the company’s TV service offerings.
AT&T expects to complete the transaction within 12 months following regulatory approval.

Sources: AT&T, USA Today

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For Comparison's Sake....
By stm1185 on 5/18/2014 11:03:10 PM , Rating: 3
The Comcast/TWC merger will also reduce the available options for television service by 0 in all areas.

While the AT&T/DirecTV merger will reduce the available options for television service in hundreds of areas.

One of these is actually reducing consumer choice and competition. Guess which one.

RE: For Comparison's Sake....
By Mint on 5/19/2014 2:13:27 AM , Rating: 2
You nailed it. This is really bad for consumers. We need IPTV services like UVerse to compete with satellite and cable.

If this merger gets approved, hopefully internet STBs and built-in TV connectivity are able to replace the competition lost in this deal.

RE: For Comparison's Sake....
By marvdmartian on 5/19/2014 9:13:16 AM , Rating: 5
True, but only because the FCC allowed cable companies, like Comcast and Time Warner, to gobble up all their small town competitors, and divvy up the country into areas where they each have a monopoly.

Adding two monopolies together just makes one bigger one.

Truth be told, AT&T, Comcast and Time Warner should ALL be forced to divvy up, much the way the old "Ma Bell" AT&T was, years ago. At least, until companies providing fiber optic service can expand out further, and offer their services outside of the major metropolitan areas (where they provide excellent competition to AT&T and cable companies).

RE: For Comparison's Sake....
By Solandri on 5/19/2014 12:15:03 PM , Rating: 2
The Comcast/TWC merger will also reduce the available options for television service by 0 in all areas.

You're assuming only TV viewers are customers.

Now that Comcast has established that web service companies like Netflix also need to pay them, Netflix is now also a customer. Comcast has a monopoly on people Netflix wishes to reach. Competition between Comcast and TWC is thus required to establish fairer pricing that Netflix has to pay.

RE: For Comparison's Sake....
By MrBlastman on 5/19/2014 12:24:59 PM , Rating: 4

Both mergers are bad for consumers.

RE: For Comparison's Sake....
By stm1185 on 5/19/2014 12:25:45 PM , Rating: 2
When no Netflix user has the option to choose between them, how are they competitors for Netflix's users?

It's not like Netflix can expect a Comcast customer to switch to TWC here. Because they don't exist together in any market, they do not compete against each other for users.

Where as millions of people will likely lose a television provider option if the DirecTV deal goes forward.

RE: For Comparison's Sake....
By Rukkian on 5/19/2014 3:39:27 PM , Rating: 2
The difference is that since Comcast had say 20% of users, they had more leverage to charge Netflix more money - basically like an old school protection racket pay us money so we don't slow down your connection. TWC also only had say 15%, and did not have as much clout. You put the 2 together and they have alot more clout to offer even more "protection" to Netflix.

Since Netflix now has to shell out billions of dollars in "protection" they raise rates for all users (regardless of their provider) so everybody with netflix helps subsidize ComWarners profits whether they can actually use them or not. I think it would be best if Netflix turned around and raised prices just on users on Comcast/TWC to pay the bill Comcast is charging instead of on everybody, but I am sure that will not happen.

By ShaolinSoccer on 5/19/2014 2:34:15 AM , Rating: 2
We hate AT&T because of their customer support and other various reasons. This merger is nothing but bad news. We quit using AT&T many years ago, and we never intended on using their services ever again. Now we may be forced to use them because we have no choice?! WTH?!

By Manch on 5/19/2014 9:23:14 AM , Rating: 3
That does suck but what does being from the PI have to do with it? Is this potential merger causing flashbacks of Marcos or something?

By nudestbob on 5/19/2014 4:48:15 PM , Rating: 2
How ironic since most of AT&T's call center support resides in the Philippines.

By ralniv on 5/20/2014 9:17:16 PM , Rating: 2
No matter where you live in the contiguous 50 states, you can always choose DISH Network if you don't like the AT&T/DirecTV option.

Hate condolidation
By blueaurora on 5/18/2014 9:53:31 PM , Rating: 2
I hated ATTs DSL services when I had them. They have had no incentive to improve their service where most cable providers have improved their service consistancy and speeds. Att just keeps on charging obscene amounts of money for 1990's tech. I had bad experiences with cell phone charges to top it off.

Now that I have been with Direct tv for 7 years and have been moderately satisfied. I see now innovation hitting a wall and the cold dead grip of the telecom devil grasping at my TV bill I know DirectTV is dying a slow death. Genie products will be the last idea they try. Its sad really.

Can everyone just leave them all at once to teach them a lesson. Innovate or die their lack of competition allows them to get away with murder. Come my Google and take us away on your beams of light!

RE: Hate condolidation
By FITCamaro on 5/19/2014 9:05:56 AM , Rating: 2
U-verse is a pretty good product. Offers pretty competitive options in the Charleston area. I know a few people who've switched to it and gotten faster speeds for the same money who were formerly on DSL.

All I want
By inperfectdarkness on 5/19/2014 3:12:35 AM , Rating: 2
All I really want is for it to be illegal for content OWNERS to be owned by/merged with/have controlling interests in/etc. the content PROVIDERS. I.e. no vertically integrated media companies.

If we can stipulate this, then there won't be issues with net neutrality because ISP's won't be trying to play favorites to their buddy companies. ISP's will have to be a "dumb pipeline" because traffic is traffic--additional fees should only equate to a larger "pipeline", not to larger data caps or preferential treatment.

RE: All I want
By Reclaimer77 on 5/19/14, Rating: 0
Debt Restructure
By Ammohunt on 5/19/2014 1:52:28 PM , Rating: 2
the thing that kills me is that this is not the first time AT&T has gotten into the cable business. The purchased TCI and Media One to form AT&T Broadband 15 years ago only to attach their debt to the new company and sell it to the dumbasses at Comcast. My guess is they will do a similar thing with direct TV. The other fishing thing here as i see it is the same guy who built TCI also built Direct TV.

"I modded down, down, down, and the flames went higher." -- Sven Olsen

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