AT&T: We'll Bundle Fixed Wireless & DirecTV

If AT&T's proposed acquisition of DirecTV is approved, the company plans to start bundling a new fixed wireless broadband service with satellite TV packages as soon as next year.

Speaking at the Goldman Sachs Communacopia Conference (transcript provided by Seeking Alpha) late last week, Ralph de la Vega, President and CEO of the Mobile & Business Solutions division at AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T), said his company is looking at dedicating spectrum in rural areas to the new broadband offering. With one service call, he said, AT&T could then install a satellite dish on a customer's property that would receive satellite TV signals and "have the outside antenna that is needed for fixed wireless local loop."

DirecTV Group Inc. (NYSE: DTV) already partners with a number of Internet service providers to offer TV and Internet bundles around the country. In rural areas, those partners are often satellite broadband providers; companies that could get squeezed out of a relationship with DirecTV if the deal with AT&T goes through.

On the performance front, de la Vega suggested that AT&T could deliver top download speeds of 15 Mbit/s and above with fixed wireless broadband. He noted that speeds would be "significantly higher than what you're seeing today on LTE, because it will be dedicated spectrum." De la Vega did not, however, address the issue of data caps, which are typically a problem for consumers with wireless broadband services. Many satellite broadband providers cap monthly data plans at 10GB and under.

For ongoing coverage of the wireless broadband space, visit Light Reading's wireless broadband content channel.

De la Vega was also asked about the possibility of offering an over-the-top video service using wireless broadband, a reference to Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ)'s plans to launch an OTT video package. The AT&T chief didn't make any commitments, but he did allude to his company's joint venture with The Chernin Group to develop and support original web content. (See AT&T Joins OTT Video Parade, AT&T's OTT Venture Buys Creativebug, Calls Itself Otter Media and AT&T to Launch WiFi Calling in 2015.)

"And the beauty about having DirecTV as part of the portfolio," said de la Vega, "is we can take that unique content and spread the cost over a large customer base that allows us to deliver content to wireless in a unique way like it will be very difficult to do for others that don't have the scale."

— Mari Silbey, special to Light Reading

[email protected] 9/16/2014 | 3:14:02 PM
WCS pt-2-mpt or mesh.


I know mesh can be very inefficient, but it could work for low...what is the word I am looking for,,,oh yea, expectations.
thebulk 9/16/2014 | 1:12:18 PM
Re: WCS Seven, 

You could be right, but it seems from the description that customers in the middle of the loop are repeaters. Not sure how its going to work exactly, but I would like to find out. 
brooks7 9/16/2014 | 12:40:44 PM
Re: WCS thebulk,

I think that pt-pt wireless is not going to work for residential service.  Too much radio engineering and too much antenna space for everything.  I think it has to be a pt - mpt setup.


danielcawrey 9/16/2014 | 12:14:10 PM
Re: WCS I think this is a good option for AT&T to offer customers. 

Not all AT&T customers are going to be close to the company's broadband services. This is another alternative – it is always good to be able to reach the customer in whatever way possible. 
jabailo 9/16/2014 | 10:25:36 AM
Re: WCS Satellite + Fiber could be a really interesting blend.  Take for example, real time broadcasting like a football game.  Right now, you could send it across the Internet with unicast topology, or you could get it from DirecTV.  Or...you could have the local switches on an AT&T network, have DirecTV antennas and unicast it at the last mile (or few hundred feet)!

What a savings on network traffic.  Or take On Demand movies.  Again, you could keep your network traffic free of big streams and downloads and funnel those off to the satellites for one-way transmission.  This seems like a marriage made in heaven!

Phil_Britt 9/16/2014 | 9:29:45 AM
Re: WCS In areas like the ones you mention, the buildout will be many years off, if at all. There's no business case for the expense.

I'm old enough to remember Johnny Carson interviewing people from areas in the continental U.S. without television. Again, no business case.
thebulk 9/16/2014 | 3:18:52 AM
Re: WCS @Seven, 

I don't think they are talking 4G, this is more of a fixed point-to-point toppology that would allow them to extend the range of a tower to remote customers. In the case of your parents, if they are the closest customer to a tower or service point its unlikely their service level would improve at all. 
brooks7 9/15/2014 | 4:50:24 PM
Re: WCS So let's define this fixed wireless a bit more.  Is it going to be a rural deployment of 4G?  I can imagine this working in the small towns, but what about farms and outside the villages.  I grew up 10 miles outside a town of 1,100 folks.  My parents still live there.  There is only barely any coverage in the area at all.


DanJones 9/15/2014 | 1:11:25 PM
Re: WCS That would definitely be a suitable application, they did some tests years ago around this.
KBode 9/15/2014 | 12:52:55 PM
WCS Interesting...I wonder if this will be using the WCS spectrum they've been gobbling up over the last few years?
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