Why AT&T's new DirecTV bundle is 'transformational'
AT&T is offering DirecTV along with its wireless phone options, now allowing consumers to bring television, Internet, wireless, telephone, and home automation all under one service.
Families looking to combine their wireless phone and TV in one bill to save money now have an option. AT&T is offering DirecTV service and 10GB of shareable data starting at $200 per month, which is the first nationwide bundle of its kind.
Just 10 days after its $48.5 billion acquisition of DirecTV, AT&T hopes to lure subscribers away from competing services with its offer, which will include the ability to start watching TV on your phone before you even walk out the door. AT&T reps will help you set up the DirecTV app, which provides full access to the provider's programming prior to getting the service installed at home.
"This is a transformational event," said cable TV and wireless analyst Jeff Kagan. "For customers this will let them get new services that will blend television, Internet, wireless, telephone and blend it all with [AT&T's] home automation platform."
The starting $200 bundle would combine a DirecTV Select Plan for $50 per month with service for four TV receivers in your house, plus 10GB of shareable data and unlimited talk and text for a family of four at $160 per month. AT&T would then apply a $10 monthly discount, for a savings of $120 per year.
Depending on the package you choose, other savings could include up to $35 per month for DirecTV ($420) per year) and $6.50 per month for four DirecTV receivers ($78). Add it all up and that's $618.
"AT&T’s All in One Plan is only the carrier's initial salvo in a new era of nationwide bundled TV and wireless services in the U.S.," said Tammy Parker, senior analyst at Current Analysis. "The convenience of having TV and wireless on a combined bill will be crucial to helping AT&T retain customers because bundled services increase customer stickiness."
Note that the Select Plan, which is the starting DirecTV plan, doesn't include NFL Sunday Ticket access. The Xtra package comes with Sunday Ticket standard, which retails for $70 monthly. However, you can add Sunday Ticket to any plan.
New DirecTV subscribers will need to sign a two-year contract, while subscribers to AT&T's U-Verse service must sign a one-year contract. The promotional pricing is good for one year.
If you're already on DirecTV and you're signed up with a different wireless carrier, AT&T is tempting switchers with a $300 bill credit when they trade-in their existing smartphone and sign up for a AT&T Next plan.
Although availability is limited to 21 states, those looking to combine TV and wireless with high-speed home Internet can do so starting at $30 per month for 6 Mbps service. The 24 Mbps tier costs $40 and $50 gets you between 45 and 75 Mbps.
"This rapid introduction of new TV and wireless bundles reassures regulators that their approval of the acquisition will enhance consumer choice and enable AT&T to bring to market competitive multi-screen video services that are available nationwide and multi-play packages in an expanding footprint," said Parker.
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Mark Spoonauer is the editor in chief of Tom’s Guide and Laptop Mag and has been covering technology for more than 15 years. When he’s not obsessing over specs you can find him running with his smartwatch. Follow Mark Spoonauer at @mspoonauer.
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