AT&T Offers First Nationwide "Linear Video Plus Mobile" Service

The first new consumer offer AT&T has made, in the wake of the approved acquisition of DirecTV, is going to draw yawns in some quarters. Sure, the new bundle of DirecTV and AT&T Wireless service could save some new customers money.

Beyond that, critics will say, the package is not that innovative. That might be true, in a sense. Bundling multiple services to increase value and save a buyer money is not new. Bundling video with other services is not new.

Predictably, the touted saving occur during the first-year promotion period. That also is routine.

But there is one element of the new plans that are a first. AT&T has become the first U.S. service provider able to sell linear TV and mobile service nationwide.

The offer for new customers includes HD and DVR service for up to four TV receivers, unlimited talk and text for four wireless lines, and 10 GB of shareable wireless data for $200 a month, an annual savings of $600 or more in the first 12 months, for new subscribers.

As part of this launch on Aug. 10, and for the first time nationwide, new DIRECTV subscribers will have immediate access to programming on their mobile devices, even before the satellite dish is installed.

They can view content on their compatible mobile devices immediately.

Additionally, DIRECTV and U-Verse TV customers who switch to AT&T wireless service from another mobile provider will receive a $300 bill credit when they buy a smartphone on AT&T Next and trade in an eligible smartphone.

AT&T is now the largest linear TV provider in the United States, and, for that matter, globally.

Innovation was never the immediate upside, though. AT&T expects to harvest the cash flow from DirecTV, and also gain the ability to sell linear video, mobile services and high speed access nationwide.

Any future upside in the video entertainment space would necessarily take longer to realize.

So yes, the critics might be right: the latest offer is not terribly innovative. It doesn’t have to be. The new offers only have to increase AT&T’s subscriber base, its average revenue per account and margins, driving incremental cash flow. That’s enough, for the moment.
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