EarthLink Teams Up with DirecTV & EchoStar

Never count EarthLink out. EarthLink, still the nation's fourth largest ISP with 5.3 million subscribers, is now branching out into the satellite TV business through marketing alliances with both DirecTV and EchoStar. EarthLink announced the two marketing pacts separately on Mon. The Atlanta-based ISP said it will start offering each DBS service as part of bundled packages in "select" markets by the end of the first quarter. It did not disclose which markets or reveal its pricing strategy. But EarthLink later explained that it will promote DirecTV packages in the markets where AT&T is selling EchoStar services. Likewise, it will promote EchoStar in the markets where Verizon, BellSouth and Qwest are pushing DirecTV's packages. The moves come at a time when the two satellite TV services, in a time of much slower growth, are depending much more on the phone companies to sell their packages. In the fourth quarter of 2005, for instance, Bell South, Verizon and Qwest combined to account for more than 140,000 new DirecTV customers, or about 70% of the 200,000 customers that the DBS leader garnered.
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