This one's been playing out in slow-motion over the last year, but it's just about resolved: AT&T (NYSE: T) has decided to partner exclusively with satellite operator DirecTV (NYSE: DTV) to market video to some of its customers. The news is a blow to rival DISH, which is currently an AT&T partner. Although this had been seen for awhile, there was some raised eyebrows last week when AT&T and DISH extended their relationship by one month, to January 31, 2009. The new service will be marketed after this date, while existing DISH/AT&T customers will continue with their existing service. Release.
WSJ: Analysts say that Dish's failure to move as aggressively into high-definition programming as its larger rival, and a greater focus on the lower end of the market have contributed to its problems. In linking with a satellite operator, telecommunications companies can offer their customers a bundle of services that include phone, Internet and TV services. The "triple-play" plans allow phone companies to compete more effectively with cable operators, which also offer such services. The satellite operator, meanwhile, gets access to new customers and shares revenue in the service.
By Joseph Weisenthal