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Is the Economy Slowing AT&T's U-verse Down?

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While I worry about buying gadgets there are plenty of people out there worried about buying far more important things like food and gas, which means that TV offerings such as those from AT&T, Comcast and Verizon might see the effects of the struggling economy. Daniel Amir, a director and semiconductor analyst at Lazard Capital Markets, seems to think so. In a note on IPTV chip maker Sigma Designs, he maintained a hold on the stock, citing a European slowdown in IPTV growth and fears that AT&T’s IPTV deployments will slow.

From the note:

However, we are increasingly concerned by the possibility of AT&T missing its annual projection of 1M subs, and believe that unit expectations will need to be reduced further in light of the macroeconomic environment. We believe it is more likely that AT&T will reach 30K subs per week by year-end, rather than 40K.

So far AT&T has signed up 549,000 U-verse subscribers, and we’ll get the latest update on Oct. 22 when it reports its earnings. I wouldn’t be surprised if subscriptions did slow, given how quickly DSL subscriptions and even land lines have fallen. It’s a lot harder to convince a customer to switch over to a service when you no longer have a toehold in their home.

28 Responses to “Is the Economy Slowing AT&T's U-verse Down?”

  1. The installation took quite a while here (1 day), but it as been pretty reliable since. Not quite sure what to think about it, isn’t perfect, but for me it has been ok. I guess it can have a good value when looking at the alternative that are far from being perfect.

  2. I would actually love to hae U-Verse but it is not available in my area. I think that is their biggest problem. It has been available for about 6 months across the street from my house and they can give no indication when it will be available. Every company has issues but I feel that it has to be better service than my current provider.

  3. Jim Thompson

    Hi Anthony,

    Did you have fiber optic cable to your service entrance of your house or twisted pair copper cable? This makes a difference to me as I’m contemplating moving to AT&T…

  4. Economy…..hurts but ….POOR SERVICE AND POOR COMMUNICATION AMONG THE SERVICE PROFESSIONALS IS THE PROBLEM!……How many customers can afford to spend two + days just to have the first installation Technician show up? ….. How many accounts are lost even before full installation?…..

    From my perspective customer service, dispatch and technical services needs to be coordinated in one organization locally, not remotely.

    October 13…..
    Installation originally ordered for 10/13 between 12:00 to 2:00…..Appointment not kept and NO COURTESY CALL to explain the reasons or reschedule.

    Called customer service and persisted until Manager was able to reschedule for 10/14 8:00 to 10:00.

    October 14….

    Called customer service and was informed that my appointment was for 10/14 12:00 to 2:00 not 8:00 to 10:00. (NOT my mistake but MISINFORMATION given by Manager on 10/13.) Asked for call back from Manager before 10:00 to confirm new appointment time.
    NO COURTESY callback…. Still waiting…..


  5. My service went down today at around 4 o clock. It’s 11 and my cable still does not work! Strangely my internet works just fine. Am I the only person experiencing this problem?

  6. Funny how people bad mouth u-verse when they never even had it.
    I had u-verse for over a year and its way better than dish(rain fade)
    cable(more expensive). I live in Houston during hurricane Ike my power was out for two weeks AT&T had a tech powering that Vrad thing the whole time. With my generator I had service. My Comcast neighbor didnt.
    So I’m satisfied with the service.

  7. A couple of issues from the direction AT&T took with U-Verse, even cheaper, makes me run for the hills:

    IPTV can be a great technology for a signal where lag is not an issue such as pulling up non-time critical things such as information or ordering a movie but if live action is happening weather its a movie in progress or a football game, i want the signal to be there when I select the channel. This is what I like about FIOS, all channels that are time critical are all sent at once where additional things such as widgets or VOD that 5 extra seconds lost before it comes up is not a big deal, can be better sent IPTV.

    Then there is MPEG-4 compression; it cant be perfect, mathmatically, it’s impossible. If some of the signal is taken away before transmission then that will translate, either, into very glitchy movement or pixelizations, what some call the haze effect. Hey, if I am buying a $2,000 TV, I want a $2,000 picture to go with it.

    If that isn’t bad enough, then we have the issues of copper, call it shorts, hum, noise, outside elements; I feel copper is just aching for a reason to degrade the signal quality even if it’s just a short run from the VRAD to the premise and this is the line that is supposed to give us TV, phone and internet. If it does work properly, I could envision occasional pixelizations, blocky issues problems with the phone and intermittently non-responsive or slower internet.

  8. I have had Uverse for over a year. Yes the install took a full day, but it has not gone down once yet, and they have finally started adding the features they have long been promising (watching recorded shows from any box in the house). However, the only reason I have Uverse is because it is cheap. Uverse for TV and internet is way cheaper than what is offered through the cable company (I still have traditional phone service). Going into this downturn, this could actually be an advantage for them if they make the savings a clear selling point.

  9. My recent install took 6 hours most of which the tech was waiting for other people in the back office to fullfill orders. The uvoice order was not completed due to a paperwork screw up even though everything it was all ordered through the website at the same time. I had to wait another 10 business days for uvoice. Otherwise, I am happy with the results.

  10. No community access support in exchange for a refridge-sized box on a pole in the middle of the historic district in my town? Mmmm! that’s progress!? Competition these days is a butterfly you can’t catch no matter the size of your net.

  11. I just signed up for U-verse because it was an excellent value compared with the alternatives. Like Victor Trac, It took many technicians and two weeks to get running, but the service is really great.

  12. Maybe AT&T is spending U-verse’s engineering and CapEx budgets on advertising – they keep putting full-page ads in the San Francisco Chronicle, but then no (?) Bay Area phone numbers are ever eligible for the service.

    It’s kind of tough to get a million subs when you won’t let anyone buy your service. Tougher when they mistreat the few eligible customers like Victor Trac.

  13. Jesse Kopelman

    These people have it backwards, premium TV and broadband offerings are still far cheaper than outside the house activities. People concerned about saving money will go to movies, concerts, and restaurants less. I wouldn’t be surprised if there is actually an increase in broadband and premium TV uptake over the coming 12 months.

  14. Perhaps a reason why they may miss their numbers is because they’re completely dysfunctional. It took me 4+ weeks and 3 techs to finally get U-Verse service installed. Each time I called them I had to call the national ATT hotline, be on hold for 15-20 minutes for the U-Verse team, and then be on hold again for another 15-20 minutes for the local dispatch. The onsite techs would have problems and would have to call the same number and be on hold for just as long as a normal customer. There were numerous problems with my account that had to be fixed at the central system, requiring calls back to the tier 2 desk.

    I feel like I was extraordinarily patient with them because I really wanted the service, but an average (non-techie) person would have just given up and gone with another provider. I was certainly tempted.