Well, as the hacks like to say, it’s official—AT&T has stopped selling its 14-year-old IPTV pay TV platform, U-verse TV.
“Current U-verse TV customers will continue to experience the same great service, however new U-verse TV packages can no longer be purchased,” AT&T said on its U-verse page. (Tip of ol’ ball cap to analyst Phillip Swann, aka the TV Answer Man, for catching this first.)
That page is now primarily devoted to selling AT&T TV, the recently launched internet-based pay TV service. But U-verse TV, which was originally part of an initiative dubbed “Project Lightspeed" and launched in 2006 as part of an aggressive AT&T fiber buildout, has been marginalized for a while now.
U-verse TV ended 2019 with 3.44 million subscribers, down 264,000 year over year. But the figure is slightly more than half of the 6 million subscribers U-verse TV had at the beginning of 2015, before AT&T consummated its $50 billion takeover of DirecTV and began prioritizing its satellite TV brand.
Can we expect a similar cease and desist for sales of other legacy AT&T pay TV platforms? AT&T TV Now, the virtual MVPD formally branded DirecTV Now, is undercut in price by AT&T TV, at least in the first promotional year of the new premium service, with the vMVPD charging more money for fewer channels.
But unlike AT&T TV, the vMVPD has no contract, and it can be signed up for and quit immediately. This ostensibly leaves a market available to AT&T TV Now, which is based on the same technology platform as AT&T TV.
As for DirecTV satellite, AT&T executives say there is still a market for satellite TV in harder to reach rural markets.
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