By Rich Nesin, General Manager and Resident Philosopher, HomePNA
AT&T had a good quarter adding 209,000 new U-verse TV customers to reach a total of 2.5 million. U-verse now passes 25 million living units (that is, the number of residences that AT&T can provide U-verse service to with minimal additional effort). The numbers don’t tell the whole story since the Average Revenue per User or ARPU for IPTV customers is up as well.
So what’s the future hold for AT&T? The Multimedia Research Group (MRG) is forecasting AT&T’s U-verse to be 3.2 million subscribers in 2010 growing to almost 9 million subscribers in 2014; surpassing Verizon FIOS as the leading U.S. telco TV service in 2012.
Well there may be another contender. Fierce Telecom reported that CenturyLink has gotten U.S. antitrust approval for its merger with Qwest (the deal still needs to be approved by the FCC and Qwest's shareholders). Merged, CenturyLinkQwest would be the third-largest U.S. wireline carrier with over 17 million access lines and 5 million broadband customers across 37 states (with lots of them getting service over VDSL and fiber).
One of the advantages of IPTV is that, unlike cable and DBS, an IPTV service provider only needs one main head-end. With CenturyLink already offering IPTV to customers, the effort required to add Qwest’s broadband customers to their TV service should, to a large degree, be incremental.