AT&T is going to phase out its long-standing U-verse voice and broadband brand, signaling its transition to what it said is a simpler way for consumers and businesses to find and purchase its services.
A customer that subscribes to a 45 Mbps broadband plan will now see the service referred to "AT&T Internet" and the tier named AT&T "internet 45." Likewise, the telco will rename the voice service as "AT&T Phone."
"The names "AT&T Internet" and "AT&T Phone" are about simplicity for our customers," AT&T told DSLReports.
AT&T said in a customer notification that "there is no change to your speed, voice plans or price and you will see the new names on future bills, correspondence and online.”
This transition should not be of any great surprise as the same trend has been taking place with U-verse TV. AT&T has been driving new TV customers to its DirecTV satellite service, a process that could enable the telco to use the additional bandwidth to increase broadband speeds.
While AT&T is still supporting current U-verse IPTV customers, the telco has not indicated how long they will continue to offer that service. Additionally, AT&T may also phase out the DirecTV name at some point, but industry insiders said that won’t occur until it launches its streaming video service under DirecTV.
AT&T has already been moving away from the U-Verse name by directing new TV customers to the company's DirecTV satellite TV service. The company will likely then use the freed bandwidth from that transition to improve overall broadband speeds. Existing U-Verse TV customers are being supported for now, but it's unclear how long that will last.
"We will continue to use DirecTV as the product name of our lead TV offer until the launch of our next-generation TV platform," an AT&T internal memo from late last year noted. "Once we have established our next generation TV platform, we plan to transition all TV product names to AT&T Entertainment to symbolize our move to a single entertainment portfolio."
Besides the name changes, it’s clear that U-verse is in a state of transition, a trend that was reflected in its second quarter results.
During the second quarter, AT&T added 74,000 new U-verse broadband subscribers, including 20,000 new business broadband additions. AT&T ended the second quarter with a total of 14.2 million broadband subscribers, down from 14.4 million as it lost 110,000 broadband customers. Despite the dip in subscribers, AT&T maintained that it expects “IP broadband net adds to bounce back in the second half of the year."
AT&T reported similar doldrums in its video business.
The company added 342,000 satellite subscribers in the second quarter. U-verse TV subscribers declined by 391,000 as the company continued to focus on profitability and increasingly emphasized satellite sales from its DirecTV purchase.
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