SBC Adds 446K DSL, 40K DBS Subs


SBC Communications Inc. added 446,000 digital-subscriber-line customers in the first quarter of 2004, along with 40,000 direct-broadcast satellite subscribers from its new partnership with EchoStar Communications Corp., the company reported Wednesday.

The DSL growth was a record, and it gives the telco nearly 4 million subscribers. That helped to offset the loss of 305,000 consumer-access lines, which actually was its lowest quarterly loss in more than one year.

SBC executives said the company has done very little marketing for its DBS business, mostly selling on inbound calls alone, but the 40,000 figure surpassed initial projections.

“This product is easily sold in all of our channels,” chief financial officer Randall Stephenson said. “The results are encouraging.”

He added that 60% of subscribers were taking premium packages (Home Box Office, Showtime or Starz!) and 70% were taking digital-video recorders, which boosted average revenue per subscriber to more than $60.

Some 52% of subscribers were taking Dish’s “Top 120” package, 18% the “Top 180” package, 17% the “Top 60” package and 13% “Dish Latino,” Stephenson said.

Overall company revenue totaled $10.1 billion compared with $10.4 billion in the year-earlier first quarter. First-quarter earnings totaled $1.9 billion versus $2.5 billion in the year-ago period. However, both quarters included one-time gains based on asset sales.