AT&T Turns to Retail Channels for U-Verse

AT&T plans to sell its triple-play U-verse services through more than 600 Circuit City and  Wal-Mart retail stores beginning this month. There are a few things about this plan that just don’t make sense. First, the choice of stores, namely the floundering Circuit City, is perplexing. Why not a more successful electronics retailer such as Best Buy, which already is stocking the iPhone and working to sell other services contracts? Update: AT&T got back to me to say that they do sell U-verse in Best Buy.

The other odd thing about this announcement is the idea that consumers will go to a retail location to learn about their broadband, voice and video services rather than through a traditional television, mailing or online ad campaign. Essentially this is another, potentially more interactive form of advertising, which could be a good thing given the current cable attack ads around HD channel delivery and what qualifies as a fiber network. However, the strategy looks expensive, and it seems to indicate that AT&T is having a hard time signing up the 1 million U-verse subscribers it says it will have by the end of the year.


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