AT&T Disses Dish, Again


In what’s become like watching a celebrity breakup, AT&T keeps signaling that it has no interest in being blissfully wedded to Dish Network. 

Heck, maybe they won’t even be on speaking terms after this is all over.

The latest sign of AT&T’s disaffection with Dish: In announcing Q2 earnings, the telco revealed that it had 2.235 million satellite video subscribers at the end of June — meaning it added a net of just 3,000 DBS customers for the period. It reported 2.232 million DBS subs at the close of Q1.

Huh… 3,000 subs? It’s as if AT&T made an effort to discourage people from signing up for Dish.

Note that AT&T no longer resells DirecTV service, having decided to consolidate with Dish. For the time being. AT&T also said it’s terminating the reseller deal with Dish at the end of this year, and indicated it will keep its options open about which DBS operator it will partner with in the future.

Instead, AT&T is focusing on its own baby, U-verse TV, padding the rolls by 170,000 to reach 549,000 subs by midyear.

The mere 3,000 net additions on satellite video was "a truly awful result, and troubling news for Dish investors inasmuch as AT&T’s support was likely to be a key element of keeping subscriber additions for Dish in positive territory," Sanford Bernstein’s Craig Moffett wrote in a note yesterday. "Moreover, their lack of success with Dish Network raises concerns about AT&T’s appetite for renewing that contract for 2009."

So much for that talk of AT&T getting really serious with Dish — i.e., acquiring the company. This should also put to rest any theories that AT&T has plans to kill IPTV anytime soon.

Here are links to Multichannel News‘ past coverage of the AT&T/Dish saga: