Tag Archives: AT&T

Huge Deal Brings DirecTV to AT&T

DirecTVConsolidation is the name of the game these days in the telecommunications industry. This observation is exemplified by the upcoming purchase of DirecTV for a figure approaching $50 billion by the mother of all telecoms, AT&T. The idea behind the merger is for AT&T to expand its customer base exactly at a moment in history when the industry is facing several complex challenges.

The merger was approved by the boards of both companies on Sunday. In addition to widening the customer base, the companies are looking for ways to also control their content and its delivery. Faced with the threat of new technologies such as streaming and wireless, cable and satellite service providers are struggling to stay competitive by offering a wider range of services and products while simultaneously keeping their shareholders happy by growing revenue.

The deal will see AT&T paying DirecTV shareholders $95 per share. Including DirecTV’s debt that AT&T also agreed to pay, the entire value of the deal is estimated at $67.1 billion.

“Customers will be able to get wireless, voice, data, TV and home security from the same company nationwide,” says Roger Entner, an analyst at Recon Analytics. “It allows (AT&T) to grow the share of consumers’ spending on telecom.”

News of the upcoming deal was first leaked on April 30, and since that date the share price of DirecTV stock soared 12%.

“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,” said Randall Stephenson, AT&T’s chairman and CEO.

Copyright Alert System Hopes to Gently Reduce Illegal Downloading

Downloaders Beware!
Downloaders Beware!

It’s been about ten years since the entertainment industry tried to aggressively to end illegal downloading of movies, music and TV shows with huge lawsuits that attacked everyone from children to seniors, ending from time to time in huge monetary payouts.

Noting that the lawsuits had little effect on halting the copyright infringement which is still rampant, a new tactic is about to be launched on internet pirates who share their downloaded files. Anyone illegally sharing their files online will receive warning notices from their internet providers, telling them bluntly that they are in violation of federal laws prohibiting the copy and use of protected intellectual property. If the warnings go unheeded those in violation can be subjected to a 48-hour internet slowdown. Those who believe they are being falsely accused can file a protest, but it will cost them.

The hope is that the implementation of the Copyright Alert System, which uses warnings and education, will be enough to curb much of the abuse, while giving violators multiple chances to make amends will reduce the number of lawsuits.

“There’s a bunch of questions that need to be answered because there are ways that this could end up causing problems for Internet users,” such as the bureaucratic headache of being falsely accused, said David Sohn, general counsel for the Center for Democracy and Technology, a Washington-based civil liberties group. But he added: “There’s also the potential for this to have an impact in reducing piracy in ways that don’t carry a lot of collateral damage.”

The program begins this week, and is being implemented by the five biggest internet service providers in the country: Verizon, AT&T, Time Warner Cable, Comcast and Cablevision; plus two key organizations that represent the entertainment industry: the Motion Picture of America and the Recording Industry Association of America.

AT&T Connecting

Earlier this year, AT&T implemented several upgrades to its broadband service, in an effort to resolve some of their major issues such as dropped calls and slow downloads. The wireless carrier’s New York-based campaign also included the sponsorship of major city events, and the help of consultant Bradley Tusk.

Before its campaign and merger deal with T-Mobile, AT&T was often criticized for its inconsistent iPhone service, and the company’s executives did not expect immediate success from the campaign in what is still one of the largest and most competitive markets in the U.S.

“First we catch up, then we anticipate and plan for the future,” Hal Lenox, president of AT&T New York, said at the time. “That’s what this is all about.”

Improvements were immediately made throughout Manhattan, which allowed for better performance, fewer dropped calls, faster downloads and reception from deep within buildings, according to Mike Maus of AT&T. The wireless carrier also provided free Wi-Fi for the Harlem Week Festival in August.

In one year, 50% fewer dropped calls were reported, and surveys have revealed that AT&T customers are now “very satisfied” with the company’s services.