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Summary:

AT&T has decided not to renew its contract to resell television services provided by Dish Networks. The announcement, made last night in a filing from Dish with the SEC, have sent shares of the satellite company tumbling and analysts rushing to point out that this may […]

AT&T has decided not to renew its contract to resell television services provided by Dish Networks. The announcement, made last night in a filing from Dish with the SEC, have sent shares of the satellite company tumbling and analysts rushing to point out that this may not be the end for Dish and AT&T. My question is, why not? Where the heck is AT&T’s belated IPTV service?

Several analysts said that AT&T’s refusal to automatically renew the five-year-old contract means the telco will try to negotiate a better deal by bringing Dish rival DirectTV to the table. Others say this kills any hope that AT&T might buy Dish. But Dish has been a stopgap measure to give AT&T a triple play of voice, data and video as the cable guys encroached on the voice business. AT&T has always wanted to offer its own video service.

Six years ago I sat through demos of AT&T’s Project Lightspeed (now Homezone) and marveled at the coming television service options ahead. By that measure I’ve spent a fifth of my life waiting for U-verse as it worked through technical hurdles and issues with the Microsoft platform. And only now is the service getting widely rolled out. Dare I hope that AT&T is actually getting close to owning its own triple play?

Right now, according to an emailed response from an AT&T spokesman, “U-verse TV is our primary offering in the areas where it is available, but AT&T | DISH is available across our footprint.” As U-verse expands, losing the AT&T contract may not be such a blow.

  1. Just hope that the fiber line to your building doesn’t get cut or you’ll wait 4 weeks for them to fix it because they are arguing with the condo builder over the 20k cost to fix said line. They can’t be spliced like cable lines. We finally got Insight.

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  2. I think your perspective on this Stacey is 100% out of sync with mine because you’re (as it mentions in this post (http://gigaom.com/2008/02/19/waiting-for-u-verse-in-austin/) still waiting for uVerse , while for me I’ve already been there (and left).

    While I am a bit surprised that AT&T chose this moment to move on from the DISH partnership (if in fact that have moved on…), but from where I sit in a uVerse territory (for at least a year here in San Diego), it’s obvious that AT&T has moved on to uVerse.

    I’m talking from a consumer, not analyst, perspective here… they saturate the airwaves with commercials for “advanced TV”, they have an army of contractors going door-to-door selling the service, etc.

    Now if only they had made the technology choice Verizon made, they wouldn’t have people like me (and several neighbors) dropping them because they can’t support two HD streams to the whole house (though I hear they’ve got that problem licked — but two’s STILL not enough for anyone with a DVR and more than one HDTV)…

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  3. In my neck of the prairie, AT&T is still partnered with DirecTV, offering DSL as the broadband [sic] part of the package. Which means, on my road, 1.25mbps.

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  4. ATT U-Verse recently started a heavy rotation ad campaign featuring Billy Dee WIlliams. Don’t know if its LA only or nationwide.

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  5. Stacey Higginbotham Thursday, July 3, 2008

    Pat, I would take FiOS (I think) over U-verse any day. But I would try U-verse over Time Warner right away. I mostly want the option, but AT&T won’t give it to me (even though they are in other parts of Austin). And until they do I don’t even get the option of faster Time Warner Service because they’re busy offering those infrastructure upgrades in area where AT&T is providing U-Verse. It’s a duopoly downer, believe me.

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  6. AT & T is supremely bootleg. I want Verizon. Too bad I live in Atlanta!!

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  7. I feel your pain Stacey — as someone who left (sorta, I never turned it off, but thought about it) Time Warner to go to U-Verse and then went back again. And yeah, Time Warner has been busily increasing our download speeds and adding HD channels (not as many as U-Verse or DIRECTV, but getting there) since AT&T rode into town with the U-Verse offer.

    Now if only TWC can keep pushing ATT to offer more SIMULTANEOUS HD channels, and ATT can keep pushing TWC to offer more TOTAL HD channels, we’ll see some competitive benefits from the duopoly :)

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  8. Justin Haygood Sunday, July 6, 2008

    AT&T recently started offering AT&T Dish Network service in Atlanta (via bellsouth.com).

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  9. [...] added 460,000 new subscribers during the first quarter of 2009, thanks to promotions from a new AT&T partnership. And it’s in the process of being merged into the entertainment division of Liberty Media, [...]

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