AT&TAT&T is more likely to upgrade broadband network infrastructure to fiber now that it has launched AT&T TV, said AT&T President and Chief Operating Officer John Stankey at an investor conference today. The company might consider adding 1 million to 1.5 million fiber upgrades annually, which would be in addition to the 350,000 to 500,000 newly-constructed homes to which the company makes fiber deployments each year, he said.

AT&T is seeing broadband market share approaching 50% within 36 months of deploying fiber to a market, which exceeds the company’s initial expectations, Stankey said. He said the company slowed its fiber deployments, in part, because “we had footprint to penetrate” and because “we wanted the software-based TV launch because we really wanted to penetrate those customers with a product we thought was a platform for the future,” he said.

Launched nationwide yesterday, AT&T TV is the software-based video offering that Stankey referenced. The offering is designed to be streamed over a broadband connection and includes a content lineup similar to cable television. The company hopes to eventually migrate customers from its U-verse video offering and from its satellite-delivered DirecTV offering to AT&T TV.

The initial price for AT&T TV starts at $39.99 monthly for the first year when bundled with AT&T gigabit broadband, which will also cost $39.99 when bundled in the offer. Stankey said he expects to see “really good momentum from that.”

AT&T TV is a platform for the future because it has the right “acquisition characteristics” and “makes good use of the fiber” and is “a complement” to the fiber, said Stankey.

Getting Set for HBO Max
While AT&T TV offers a traditional cable TV content lineup, putting it into the multi-video programming distributor (vMVPD) category, AT&T is also working on a subscription video on demand (SVOD) offering to be known as HBO Max that would compete with streaming video offerings such as Netflix and Amazon Prime.

The company previously said it expects to launch HBO Max in May 2020 at $14.99 monthly and also has announced some of the content that the service will include. The company deliberately “leaked out” some of that information to build excitement for the offering which will “have something for everybody in the household,” Stankey said.

He also noted that the company has been doing work on the distribution side to drive more subscriptions to the traditional HBO offering in advance of the HBO Max launch because HBO subscribers will be good prospects for the SVOD offering.

Stankey made his comments at the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media and Telecom Conference, which was also webcast.

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