CenturyLink Drops Dish For DirecTV

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CenturyLink, the fourth-largest U.S. telco, began marketing DirecTV service to customers in its 33-state footprint on Aug. 1 after an agreement with Dish Network expired at the end of July.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. CenturyLink last year acquired Embarq, the former local telephone operations of Sprint. The Monroe, La.-based telco, formerly known as CenturyTel, has about 7 million access lines, 2.3 million broadband customers and 587,000 customers who subscribe to Dish service.

DirecTV already had similar agreements with the three largest telcos -- AT&T, Verizon Communications and Qwest Communications -- which give it coverage of approximately 90 million homes in the U.S. As of February 2009, AT&T switched from offering Dish service to DirecTV in areas where U-verse TV is unavailable.

On its website, CenturyLink is offering DirecTV starting at $29.99 per month for one year (with a two-year contract), as well as a triple-play that includes DirecTV starting at $90 per month for the first six months.

"We've decided to try a new TV service that offers new features to our customers," CenturyLink spokeswoman Stephanie Meisse said, citing NFL Sunday Ticket and multiroom DVR options offered by DirecTV.

Dish declined to comment. CenturyLink entered into the marketing deal with Dish in 2005.

In April, CenturyLink announced plans to acquire Qwest in a stock-swap worth $10.6 billion. The combined company would have customers in 37 states and about 17 million access lines.

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