AT&T is moving quickly to seal a takeover deal with satellite-TV provider DirecTV, reports the WSJ, in a deal that could be worth $50 billion.
Dallas-based AT&T would likely pay a premium for DirecTV’s nearly 20 million US subs. But why?
- AT&T’s U-verse IPTV service has nearly 7 million subscribers and DirecTV would add some 20 million additional subs.
- Comcast’s 20 million cable subs appears headed to adding 12 million TWC subscribers. Comcast announced in February its intent to buy Time Warner Cable for $45 billion, a deal that would create a giant in the multi-channel universe.
With a combined 27 million subscriber base, AT&T’s subscriber count would rival Comcast’s 32 million subscriber base (after T/W). What other advantage would AT&T get from buying a declining satellite TV business? Defense.
Dish Networks now won’t make an offer for DirecTV, said Dish Chairman Charlie Ergen.
“DirecTV would be too frothy for us, for our board to look at, at those kinds of prices,” he said. DirecTV and Dish attempted to merge more than a decade ago, a combination that was squashed by regulators.
Satellite providers DirecTV and Dish also provide satellite broadband but the capacity of their satellite transponders is limited and latency is excessive for voice or gaming.
One thing DirecTV has is rooftop access — for small cells and (branded) WiFi.
Comcast aims to increase its WiFi network reach from 1 million public access points to 8 million by the end of the year while Cablevision’s WiFi network has more than 100,000 access points and growing rapidly.
Dish, unlike DirecTV, is ready to go mobile. It owns spectrum in the AWS-4 band (40 MHz), the PCS band (10 MHz) and the 700 MHz band (6 MHz). Dish brings access to 14 million rooftops. And Dish is preparing to roll out a new video streaming service that could someday rival the 32 million subscribers on Netflix.
It begs the question; who will Dish go home with.
The suitors include:
- Verizon (which recently purchased Intel’s settop box)
- T-Mobile (which has nationwide AWS tower coverage for Dish’s 50 MHz of spectrum)
- Sprint (which has more 2.6 GHz then they can use)
- Google (planning fiber in dozens of cities).
Who better than Dish to deliver an “alternative infrastructure” for wireless — without the bloated telco legacy.
See: AT&T + DirecTV?, Comcast Buying Time Warner Cable, Ad-Sponsored WiFi Initiatives from Gowex & Facebook, Dish Wins Everything in H-Block Auction, Comcast Creates Hotspot 2.0 National Network, Google Fiber Expands to More Cities, Google Fiber Launches in Kansas City , FCC Authorizes High Power at 5.15 – 5.25 GHz, Ad-Sponsored WiFi Initiatives from Gowex & Facebook, Comcast Creates Hotspot 2.0 National Network, FCC Moves to Add 195 MHz to Unlicensed 5 GHz band, EchoStar XVII Broadband Satellite Launched, Hughes/EchoStar: Broadband Satellite Prepared for Launch, ViaSat Announces Commercial Satellite Operation,Dish Talks Up Terrestrial LTE, EchoStar Closes $2B Hughes Deal, ViaSat Buying Wild Blue, New High Capacity Satellites for North America,