Ready or Not, AT&T Sells Uverse

It is hard to get a grip on AT&T’s IPTV efforts. Dubbed Uverse, some say AT&T’s television service it is still stuck in neutral, plagued by technical problems. AT&T, however feels otherwise, and has started making a strong marketing push for the service, according to a report in San Antonio-Express News. The company claims that it has ironed out all the technical glitches and is now ready to take on the cable operators.

“We’re ready to take our foot off the brake and step on the accelerator,” John Stankey, AT&T’s group president for operations, said Tuesday. “By the end of the year, we will be up and running in every significantly sized market where we operate.”

Fascinating, since it was only a couple of months ago that the company’s tech troubles were highlighted in the Wall Street Journal, pointing to the problems with Microsoft IPTV software. The company was supposed to launch in 15-to-20 markets last year, and could not make the number despite its best efforts.

Anyway, the company has announced Uverse availability in four new markets – Milwaukee and Racin, WI starting today, and Dallas-Fort Worth and Kansas City in March 2007.

AT&T has about 7,000 users, up from 3,000 at the end of 2006. That works out to about 100-subscribers a day, though the company thinks it is going to hit 300 new subscribers a day by March 2007, thanks to some aggressive selling by “door-to-door salespeople.” UBS estimates with those kind of numbers, the gross additions per quarter could be around 23,000, and 93,000 by end of 2007.

UBS’s John Hodulik in a note this morning writes: “management’s confidence suggest that we may be reaching an inflection point with regards to Lightspeed and investors’ perception of the residential strategy.”Something tells me the costs of rolling this service are just going to be too high, and that John is being a bit too optimistic. The risk of losing voice customers is just too high, as pointed out earlier.

According to a report from Pike & Fisher’s Broadband Daily, indicates that despite having fiber deployed in much of the region, ‘AT&T does not plan to launch IPTV service in the Southeast territories it acquired through its BellSouth merger until late this year, CFO Richard Lindner said Feb. 28.’

Bonus: Alan Weinkrantz is blogging his U-Verse experiences, and has posted this video of IPTV in HD and Internet TV over Vista, all on one screen. One of our readers didn’t think too highly of the Uverse service.