Both AT&T and Verizon see strong potential in making video content available on mobile devices – and at a telecom financial conference today the two companies offered some additional details about their strategies in that market. AT&T seems to view mobile video primarily as an extension to traditional linear video programming, while Verizon appears more interested in developing totally new offerings that are independent of traditional video subscriptions.
AT&T Vs. Verizon Mobile Video Strategies
AT&T sees an opportunity to differentiate its mobile video offerings based on its planned merger with DirecTV and a unique combination of network assets, said John Stephens, senior executive vice president and CFO for the carrier, at the UBS Global Media and Communications Conference today, which was made available as a webcast. Those assets include 300 million LTE pops and 70 million broadband customers.
“The distribution of video over wireless will be a really important item,” said Stephens, who positioned AT&T’s plans as an “opportunity for content [providers] to expand how [content is] distributed.”
The carrier is building a “video-centric” network and will move to multicast wireless distribution “as the ecosystem develops,” he noted.
Verizon EVP and CFO Fran Shammo, also speaking at the UBS conference, downplayed the idea of extending linear video subscriptions to mobile devices. Instead he pointed to Verizon’s deal with the National Football League as an example of “the kind of content deal we’re looking for.”
That deal enables Verizon wireless customers to view regional Sunday games or national games on other days on their mobile devices – and the offering isn’t tied to a landline video subscription.
One thing AT&T and Verizon agree on is that multicasting will be important to mobile video. Shammo noted that multicast technology “will play a big role” in supporting Verizon’s mobile video plans.
SDN, Net Neutrality and VoLTE
Other noteworthy comments from today’s conference:
- AT&T sees software defined networking as a means of reducing its reliance on truck rolls to cell towers and to customer premises to implement service upgrades
- Regarding AT&T’s plan to “pause” gigabit deployments because of uncertainty involving Net Neutrality, Stephens said the company will deploy fiber capable of supporting speeds up to 1 Gbps to approximately 70 million customers if the company’s plan to merge with DirecTV is approved but that the company would “pause” plans to extend coverage within gigabit metro areas
- Verizon sees voice over LTE (VoLTE) as a potential means of generating additional revenue. Shammo noted, for example, that he sees strong potential for VoLTE to support video calling. Additionally VoLTE will reduce the cost of delivering voice service because it is less costly than the CDMA technology Verizon largely relies on today for voice service, Shammo said