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November 11, 2006

AT&T Launching Into Video Services and Mobile Entertainment with Latest Plans

Will AT&T play a major role in the future of mobile content? Going back to some Halloween news, a USA Today story from Leslie Cauley focuses on the new moves by the major telephone company to move into position to challenge cable companies, as telephone and cable providers line up against each other to provide services. This has been a battle that has been a long time coming, and it will likely be a war waged over the next several years, with service and pricing in play on the field.

Cauley's story focuses on how AT&T plays to deploy one of the greatest tools that may be in its arsenal--wireless content. With AT&T eyeing a purchase of BellSouth and thus gaining complete control of Cingular Wireless (which it would change to AT&T), it would have a major cellular company at its disposal, allowing the company to move forward with its major plan to increase entertainment content.

Cauley points out that, while the current plans with other cable operators with Sprint for wireless entertainment services, for instance, have not led to any profit, AT&T would benefit from having a wireles service provider in-house along with U-verse, bolstering recent attempts like the U-verse, AT&T's new video service that could serve as sharp competition to cable and satellite providers. According to the story, plans include integrating wireless and "wired" products, "including high-speed Internet and U-verse TV," creating a package that "blurs the line between wired and wireless." These plans also include greater technology to fuel integrated advertising and an expansion of advertising on cell phones.

U-verse is being tested with AT&T users in San Antonio right now, with plans to offer it in 15 to 20 markets by the end of the year. It offers both Internet and video service that includes up to three digital receivers per home, as well as a DVR and on-demand service. The deal right now includes three months of free television through U-verse. They are also launching a voice over IP service, as UverseUsers wrote about last month. Plans are also being made to make service high-definition by the end of the month, according to MSNBC.

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