Customers of Verizon—which also currently offers service bundles including DirectTV—could see offers both to stay and to switch over to AT&T, said Todd Day, industry analyst for Frost & Sullivan. With many customers under two-year contract for the service, however, it's unclear how quickly Verizon's television offerings might change. Verizon declined to comment.
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Whether consumers will bite on bundling offers is another matter. Most people still get their phone, Internet and TV service from different companies, Rosen said. "There are service differentiators that customers are aware of that lead them to choose multiple providers," he said. "It's always a choice of getting the best quality for each line of service."
City-dwellers facing the challenge of mounting a satellite dish, for example, aren't likely to find any AT&T bundle offers enticing. And although AT&T announced a commitment to expand and enhance broadband in some rural areas, some may find it still isn't an option, he said.
There's also a time limit on any good news: In the long run, consumers could see prices rise as a result of the deal, said Day. In a conference call Monday, AT&T committed to offering its broadband service at unspecified guaranteed prices for three years. Over the same period, DirecTV will offer its standalone video packages at a "consistent nationwide price."
During the call, AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson said the company would continue to offer its fiber-optic TV and broadband product U-verse. But with both DirecTV and U-verse under its umbrella, that's one less paid TV competitor in the market, Day said.