AT&T to Expand U-verse to 15 Markets


In announcing third-quarter results last week, AT&T said it expects to expand its U-verse HDTV service to 15 markets by the end of 2006, including a rollout in Houston next month.

That will increase U-verse’s number of homes passed to 2.4 million, compared with 1.3 million at the end of the third quarter, AT&T said.

U-verse first launched in San Antonio in June. AT&T plans to next offer TV service in Houston, with a launch scheduled for late November.

“By design, we're ramping the project in a measured way,” AT&T chief financial officer Rick Lindner told analysts on a conference call last week. “We have made good progress this quarter on a number of fronts. The service is working well, customer response has been positive and our marketing approach is producing good results with deployment on track.”

Lindner added that 85% of U-verse customers in San Antonio are “taking higher-end video packages.”

AT&T said it has 3,000 U-verse subscribers in San Antonio, which represents about 10% of the total homes the company said it has marketed to.

"We're doing some innovative things in terms of marketing, including live demos available at a Cingular store, and that's proving to be effective," Lindner said on the conference call.

AT&T didn't specify which markets are among the 15, but Lindner said all of them will include HDTV channels at launch.

In other U-Verse news, AT&T said Tuesday that it inked a carriage deal with Sí TV, the English-language network aimed at Latino viewers.

Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.