AT&T Drops DirecTV For Dish

AT&T has officially shown DirecTV the door—at least for now. The telco announced Wednesday that it will resell Dish Network service to customers in the nine Southeast states that comprise the former BellSouth territory.

AT&T first disclosed plans to stop offering DirecTV at its analyst meeting in December.

But the company is still keeping its options open about whether it will go with DirecTV or Dish in 2009 and beyond.

“We are rolling our AT&T Dish Network service to fill out the last nine states of our service footprint,” AT&T spokeswoman Jenny Parker said, in an e-mailed statement. “Dish Network will be our exclusive satellite provider for new customers across our 22-state footprint, for the near term. We will announce a decision by late 2008 when our current Dish contract expires.”

In a statement last December, DirecTV said that AT&T's decision “will have minimal impact on our business in that we have a number of initiatives in place to provide incentives to energize dealers in the region, and we will step up our direct-sales efforts.”

AT&T markets satellite TV service in areas where it does not offer U-verse TV, its DSL-based video service.

At the end of 2007, AT&T reported 2.1 million subscribers with either Dish or DirecTV service, compared with 231,000 U-verse TV customers.

BellSouth, before it was acquired by AT&T, had a deal with DirecTV to resell its direct-broadcast satellite service, while AT&T has offered Dish in its other regions.

Last fall, AT&T was rumored to be considering buying Dish Network (previously called EchoStar Communications).