According to Randall Stephenson, the chairman and chief executive officer of AT&T, the initial demand for its newly launched DirecTV Now offering has been dramatic so far (despite a few issues). Stephenson went on to reveal that the second biggest wireless carrier in the United States has already managed to reach its December goal for the number of new subscribers to DirecTV Now, right on the day the service officially went live.
It is safe to say that AT&T’s recent efforts in mobile video are going along fine. The major US mobile operator already generated some buzz when it announced its intentions of acquiring Time Warner for a sum of $85.4 billion (the deal is still pending to date). Last year, the company had started it all by purchasing DirecTV for $48.5 billion. Fast forwarding to today, things appear to have panned out pretty well for AT&T as it continues to boost its video content offerings to customers.
Several days ago, AT&T launched its DirecTV Now service, with a promotional rate of $35 for access to a hundred channels that can be streamed to smartphones and tablet devices and even web set top boxes such as Apple TV. It is true that it has only been barely a week since launch, but Stephenson has observed that quite a number of customers have already bought HBO and Cinemax channels, add ons that are made available together with the core service and are priced at $5.
Stephenson also took the opportunity to label the new DirecTV Now as sort of a 5G service launched on a 4G network. According to the AT&T chief, DirecTV Now will contribute immensely in pushing for speedier and more importantly, more reliable wireless networks. He likened it to Apple’s release of the original iPhone device, which helped the mobile world transition more quickly from 2G to 3G networks.
Stephenson also weighed in on President-elect Donald Trump’s upcoming presidency. Trump had made some statements regarding his intention to decrease corporate taxes and relax some regulations. Also, with Trump in power, the Federal Communications Commission could reverse its stand on some of the net neutrality rules, including the move to classify most of today’s telecom giants under Title II rules (which are generally considered more strict). And there’s the subject of zero rated offers -- detractors are claiming that such offers give bigger wireless carriers (like AT&T) an unfair advantage over lesser operators who can not always afford to offer similar deals. Stephenson is quick to point out zero rating is just like toll free calling, and this business model has been in use by many companies for several decades now.
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