AT&T will send out technicians who can install DirecTV, U-verse and broadband starting in November

AT&T (NYSE: T) has been training its broadband and U-verse IPTV installers to also install service for its DirecTV offerings, and early next month it plans on sending out into the market the first wave of technicians who can install all of the services.

"The last thing is our service technicians have been installing broadband for us or U-verse for us, but they haven't been installing DirecTV," AT&T CFO John Stephens said last week on AT&T's third-quarter earnings conference call, according to a Seeking Alpha transcript.

 "So we've been putting them through a training program," and AT&T is expecting "the first set of technicians to roll out after [being] fully trained on installing satellite in the home, in probably November or so, the early part of November, such that we will then be able to sell a single truck roll installation for broadband and video."

Stephens indicated that AT&T is streamlining its installation process through what is known inside the company as Project Halo, or its "High Automation Low Overhead" process. That is contributing to across-the-board cost savings for the company, he said.

It's unclear what kind of training program AT&T has given to its installers or how many will be in that first set. It's also unclear how quickly AT&T might be able to get all of its installers through the new training program. An AT&T spokeswoman declined to comment. 

Stephens said AT&T is "excited" about the new program but that "it will be a measured approach" and AT&T won't "have everybody trained on the first day."

Stephens indicated that by moving to a model where it can do one truck roll for DirecTV as well as U-verse or broadband installation, it can save money and increase sales. "But we're excited about what that will bring and think that will bring some not only good performance in the fourth quarter, but, quite frankly, really look forward to that kind of positive performance and impact next year," he said.

As a result of the single truck roll, AT&T not only expects satellite TV sales to pick up through DirecTV, but also expects IP-based broadband sales to perk up as well, according to Stephens.  

AT&T said that the new training will benefit both the company and customers. "First, and most important, training our technicians to install DirecTV service will significantly improve the customer experience," the company said in a statement. "Our customers will enjoy the simplicity and convenience of a single visit to install both video and Internet service. This will help us increase revenues as more and more customers choose multiple products. Secondly, as we increase our cross-marketing efforts, installing multiple services in a single visit will be much more efficient. This will help us realize the $2.5 billion in cost synergies we expect from this deal."

For more:
- see this Seeking Alpha transcript

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