Thu, Oct. 8, 3:13 PM
- AT&T (T +0.7%) and T-Mobile (TMUS -1.9%) have agreed to swap PCS and AWS-1 spectrum licenses around the U.S., according to FCC filings -- a move that should bring more service efficiency.
- The deal is pending FCC approval. Some major markets involved include Phoenix, Minneapolis, Boston, and Austin-San Antonio.
- The blocks are being swapped in identical amounts, so each carrier's total holdings will be unchanged -- but the ability to work in bigger contiguous blocks means greater efficiency for both, including a coveted 15+15 and 20+20 Wideband LTE offering that T-Mobile had hoped to provide.
Wed, Oct. 7, 11:29 AM
- After calling out the FCC in public, AT&T (T +0.9%) has received what had been a stalled waiver that now allows it to begin offering Wi-Fi calling on its iPhones.
- The company had applied for a waiver in June from rules regarding support for hearing- and speech-impaired users under TTY, but a comment cycle passed without it being granted.
- The company's grateful, says its Jim Cicconi, but: "At the same time we are left scratching our heads as to why the FCC still seems intent on excusing the behavior of T-Mobile and Sprint, who have been offering these services without a waiver for quite some time."
- The FCC seems to be skipping enforcement action and inviting T-Mobile and Sprint to apply for similar waivers, Cicconi said.
Wed, Oct. 7, 9:59 AM
- Another TV blackout deadline is put off for another few days at least, as Tribune Media (TRCO +1.4%) and AT&T's U-verse (T +1%) have extended their expired retransmission pact, which ended at September's end.
- The companies' new deadline for a deal is 5 p.m. next Tuesday.
- Previously: AT&T, Viacom sign new distribution deal (Oct. 05 2015)
- Previously: Media General, DirecTV ink last-minute carriage deal (Oct. 01 2015)
Mon, Oct. 5, 9:25 AM
- AT&T (NYSE:T) and Viacom (VIA, VIAB) have signed a new long-term deal for retransmission of Viacom programming on the U-verse and DirecTV platforms.
- AT&T took the extra step of highlighting its own rate accomplishment: "In recognition of AT&T's status as the largest pay TV provider in the world, this agreement entitles AT&T's satellite and IPTV platforms to the best deal in the industry for Viacom's leading portfolio of television brands."
- Premarket, AT&T is up 0.8%; VIAB is flat.
- Previously: Media General, DirecTV ink last-minute carriage deal (Oct. 01 2015)
- Previously: Tegna, Dish extend carriage talk deadline by eight days (Oct. 01 2015)
Fri, Oct. 2, 2:59 PM
- AT&T (T -0.4%) has a letter in to the FCC noting that while it awaits a waiver from the FCC to offer Wi-Fi calling services -- a more notable service deficiency with the advent of Apple's iOS9 -- Sprint (S +4%) and T-Mobile (TMUS +0.1%), along with Google's Project Fi, are offering such services without such a waiver.
- AT&T had planned to offer Wi-Fi calling in September, but filed a waiver related to TTY support regulations (as such assistance for the hearing- and speech-impaired can be tricky to provide over some Wi-Fi). The agency hasn't provided such a waiver yet, "even while our competitors provide those services in defiance of the commission's rules," AT&T writes.
- The carrier is pressing for a granted waiver "without further delay."
Thu, Oct. 1, 4:58 PM
- While Dish Network and Tegna sort out their differences, Media General (NYSE:MEG) and DirecTV (NYSE:T) have come to a last-minute retransmission deal.
- The pact avoids a blackout on the service of as many as 71 Media General stations in 48 local markets.
- Media General had pointed viewers at risk of losing programming toward U-verse, AT&T's other television service -- but one that seems to be getting de-emphasized as AT&T works to integrate DirecTV.
- Previously: AT&T facing blackout talks with Tribune, Media General (Sep. 24 2015)
Wed, Sep. 30, 5:15 PM
- Sprint (S +2.7%) is going to kick up the cost of its unlimited data plan, formerly $60/month, to $70/month, showing that unlimited data plans may be testing sustainability at the wireless carriers.
- That's still the best U.S. postpaid deal for that plan, and current customers will be grandfathered in at the $60/month rate. The price changes for new customers Oct. 16.
- T-Mobile (TMUS +0.6%) sells an unlimited data plan for $80/month, and AT&T (T +1.5%) and Verizon (VZ -0.1%) don't offer one.
- Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure has alluded to the strain of unlimited data, as well as wishes to bump customers toward the tiered data plans.
- Earlier, Sprint pursued limiting video download speeds, but has removed such restrictions as customers pushed back.
Tue, Sep. 29, 5:02 PM
- As prep for its analyst conference tomorrow, AT&T (NYSE:T) has filed an 8-K updating Q3 guidance -- expecting capital spending to increase sequentially, and for free cash flow to exceed $4.5B.
- It's reaffirming all other full-year guidance, including double-digit revenue growth and "continued consolidated margin expansion" even with foreign-exchange pressures.
- AT&T expects more than 2M net adds in wireless, with gains across postpaid, prepaid, connected devices and reseller, and positive branded voice net adds.
- DirecTV integration is going well early, and it expects positive net adds in that operation and positive IP broadband net adds, though U-verse subs are expected to decline as it focuses elsewhere.
- AT&T will announce Q3 results on Oct. 22.
Tue, Sep. 29, 1:51 PM
- With a plummeting currency bedeviling Venezuela, AT&T (T +0.2%) is considering a $1.1B charge tied to DirecTV's assets in the country.
- The assets are valued at $1.1B based on an exchange rate of 12 bolivars/dollar. If AT&T values the assets at the devalued "Simadi" exchange rate -- 200 bolivars/dollar -- it would effectively wipe out most of the dollar value, creating a "negative impact on reported revenues, operating income and the fair value of our investment in the Venezuelan subsidiary."
- AT&T has maintained that the primary value of its DirecTV deal is in the U.S. business. In Q1, the Venezuela operation generated $200M in revenue and OIBDA of $75M, but the Simadi rate would have meant an operating loss.
Fri, Sep. 25, 2:01 PM
Thu, Sep. 24, 6:05 PM
- AT&T (NYSE:T) is getting close to a couple of programming blackouts, with no carriage deals on a couple of deadlines looming at the end of the month.
- Tribune Media (NYSE:TRCO) and its flagship WGN may go dark on U-verse Oct. 1, the company is warning viewers.
- Meanwhile, Media General (NYSE:MEG), which operates 71 stations in 48 local markets, is in a dispute with AT&T's DirecTV (NASDAQ:DTV) that could black out stations Oct. 1. Interestingly, in pointing viewers away from DirecTV, Media General recommends U-verse as one alternative.
- As always, negotiations are under wraps, but DirecTV homes in on a requested increase, saying that "Media General is threatening to block your station’s signal unless they receive more than double the current fees."
- After hours: T -0.2%; TRCO -0.8%.
Tue, Sep. 22, 7:24 PM
- With most observers thinking any theoretical merger between T-Mobile (TMUS -1.1%) and Sprint (S +0.3%) would have to wait until a new U.S. administration (and John Legere saying "Oh yeah ... the only possible coming together of Sprint and T-Mobile is if we pick them up off the sidewalk"), analysts at Evercore say the two could combine network assets.
- It would be a sort of a merger, into a new company (a REIT in particular) that would hold their network resources. Bigger investments at lower cost would come, along with a speedier network once spectrum assets were blended.
- Given up, of course, would be the chance to differentiate, and snipe the rival over network power.
- Combined, the two control 255 MHz of spectrum, more than the 147 MHz at AT&T (T -0.9%) or the 116 MHz of Verizon (VZ -0.9%). A new "NetCo" would rent the network back to the two, as well as possibly others, and support MVNO customers.
- As a final entry in the "pro" column, the analysts note a combined network would make any future merger more headache-free.
Tue, Sep. 22, 12:46 PM
- Traffic checks of U.S. wireless carriers by Pacific Crest's Michael Bowen show slowness for the leaders and some momentum for challengers.
- Verizon (VZ -1%) was "slow" and AT&T (T -0.9%) "somewhat weak" in the past month heading into a key iPhone announcement. Verizon saw a lower amount of pre-orders for the iPhone and was coming off a data plan re-sizing; AT&T is lower-key about pushing phone upgrades, though tablet promotions are going well and customers are responding to DirecTV bundles.
- Meanwhile, promotions are bearing fruit at T-Mobile (TMUS -1.9%) and Sprint (S -1%). T-Mobile traffic was "strong," Bowen says, with employees optimistic about iPhone pre-orders and new financing plans. Meanwhile, most Sprint stores met or beat August goals and expect the same for September, as the "iPhone forever" leasing plan is showing strong demand.
Mon, Sep. 21, 3:36 PM
- Sinclair Broadcast Group (SBGI +0.6%), the nation's biggest local broadcaster, has held talks to acquire the Tennis Channel, The Wall Street Journal reports.
- Sinclair has engaged in multiple rounds of talks with the various private-equity owners of the network, which include Apollo Global Management and Bain Capital Ventures. DirecTV (NYSE:T) and Dish Network (NASDAQ:DISH) also have small stakes.
- The ownership is seeking a healthy premium, asking $500M or more for the Tennis Channel.
- It would be a bid for more content by Sinclair, which is dependent on the big four broadcasters for much of what it puts on TV.
Sun, Sep. 20, 11:03 AM
- HP (NYSE:HPQ) recently announced that it would cut around 30K jobs, but despite its size, the corporate layoffs are not the largest of the recent past.
- According to outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, the following list can claim that distinction.
- IBM (NYSE:IBM) layoffs: 60K - July 1993
- Citigroup (NYSE:C) layoffs: 50K - November 2008
- Sears (NASDAQ:SHLD) layoffs: 50K - January 1993
- General Motors (NYSE:GM) layoffs: 47K - February 2009
- AT&T (NYSE:T) layoffs: 40K - January 1996
- Ford (NYSE:F) layoffs: 35K - January 2002
- Kmart (SHLD) layoffs: 35K - January 2003
- Circuit City layoffs: 34K - January 2009
- Boeing (NYSE:BA) layoffs: 31K -September 2001
- Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) layoffs: 30K - September 2011
Wed, Sep. 16, 4:06 PM
- In a key move for its future, AT&T (NYSE:T) has named Enrique Rodriguez -- recently of Sirius XM -- as its chief technical officer for the Entertainment and Internet business.
- Rodriguez has oversight of both U-verse and DirecTV, and any combination of or successor to those services. Former DirecTV CTO Romulo Pontual left the company after the merger was completed.
- Rodriguez was most recently an executive VP for productions, operations and connected vehicles at Sirius XM, and has executive experience at both Cisco and Microsoft.
- Ericsson is working with AT&T on bringing the U-verse and DirecTV services, but there are few details yet about how it will go about it.
- Previously: AT&T: We're well positioned to handle TV-industry challenges (Sep. 16 2015)
T vs. ETF Alternatives
AT&T Inc, through its subsidiaries and affiliates, provides wireless and wireline telecommunications services in the United States and internationally. The Company has three reportable segments: Wireless, Wireline, and Other.
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