AT&T has just confirmed that it has officially completed its acquisition of satellite TV provider DirecTV for an amount of $49 billion. With this latest development, AT&T has now become the biggest paid-TV provider in all of the United States.
By acquiring DirecTV, AT&T now transforms into a major power player that offers a wide range of wireless communications, broadband, and entertainment services. Indeed, the deal now gives the carrier access to DirecTV’s content deals, including its deal in televising games of the National Football League. Also, AT&T can now make use of DirecTV’s broad reach in terms of delivering TV content to viewers across America. This is really crucial for AT&T because the carrier only offers its video service to a limited number of states. Moreover, its acquisition of DirecTV could be the key for AT&T in delivering more video content to the mobile devices of its subscribers.
AT&T’s acquisition of DirecTV became official immediately after the Federal Communications Commission revealed that the five member commission had voted in favor of approving the merger between the two companies. The Department of Justice has also officially stated a few days ago that it would not oppose the deal. Both the FCC and the Department of Justice actually had expressed some concerns regarding the merger, but these concerns were ultimately decided to be not too big a factor to stop the deal from happening.
Still, the FCC has imposed a certain number of conditions that must be complied with in order to make the merger official. Chief among these conditions is that AT&T must agree to follow specific net neutrality restrictions that are more rigid than those outlined by the FCC back in February early this year. Furthermore, AT&T must also increase the number of subscribers that the carrier plans to serve with its high speed gigabit broadband service. Lastly, AT&T must make a more concerted effort to provide better broadband access to families with low incomes, as well as academic institutions and libraries.
As the wireless industry continues to become even more competitive, AT&T (and other wireless carriers) are actively exploring new ways in which it can further expand its current range of services. In the last three years, the carrier has been busy making acquisition after acquisition in an effort to diversity its portfolio and at the same time, attract more new customers while improving its services for existing subscribers. Just this year, AT&T has acquired two Mexican wireless carriers -- Iusacell for $2.5 billion and Nextel Mexico for $1.88 billion.
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