Stephenson: Future of the Bundle is Wireless

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AT&T chairman and CEO Randall Stephenson said that the anchor for the triple play bundle of the future will be wireless telephony, not wireline service, adding that the telecom giant will be more aggressive this year both within its region and possibly outside its territory with the three-product bundle.

“In region without a doubt, it will continue to get more aggressive” Stephenson said at the Citigroup Entertainment, Media & Telecommunications conference in Phoenix Tuesday. “The triple play option – wireless, broadband and video – that will be our strategic product set in the marketplace in region. Out of the region, we’ll see.”

That could bode well for the telco, which owns the largest wireless telephony service provider in the country, AT&T Wireless.

Stephenson said that video is an integral part of the bundle, adding that while AT&T has lost access lines to cable telephone services, it was most impacted by customers who abandoned wireline service altogether for wireless.

“I happen to be one of those people that believe the voice product of the future is wireless,” Stephenson said, adding that while some pundits have predicted that as much as 20% of homes could be wireless-only, he estimated that it “could be higher than that.”

AT&T has made gains through its IPTV television product U-Verse – it had about 126,000 U-Verse customers in the third quarter, more than double the 51,000 customers in the previous period. AT&T also resells satellite TV service from Dish Network and DirecTV Group outside of its telephone territory.

AT&T shares plunged more than 5% ($2.22 per share) to $39.21 each on Tuesday after Stephenson said that he expects further “softness,” in the consumer business because of sluggish economic growth.

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