Q. I’ve been a subscriber to AT&T’s U-verse TV for several years, but it seems like AT&T wants to get rid of it. They rarely give us anything new, and they even took away our web site. Does AT&T plan to keep supporting U-verse, or will we all get an e-mail one day saying it’s history and we need to subscribe to DIRECTV? — John, Monterey, California.
John, I understand your concern. Since AT&T merged with DIRECTV in 2015, the telco has subtlety (and, sometimes, not so subtlety) encouraged U-verse subscribers to switch to the satellite TV service.
After AT&T launched DIRECTV Now in November 2016, the company has also steered new and old customers to the live streaming service via price breaks and giveaways.
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And, as you note, AT&T has even eliminated the Uverse.com web site, which offered a programming guide, remote DVR capability, and streaming of live channels. Now, U-verse customers must download an app to watch their favorite shows online.
I can’t blame any U-verse TV subscriber for thinking it’s just a matter of time before the rug is pulled out from under him.
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But, John, I don’t think AT&T will close U-verse anytime soon. The pay TV division still has more than three million subscribers and AT&T simply can’t afford to jettison those folks.
There’s no guarantee that all of them, or even a majority, would switch to DIRECTV or DIRECTV Now. Many of them might cut the cord, or switch to another pay TV outfit, which would mean a significant loss in revenue for AT&T.
However, I think it’s highly likely that the name, U-verse, will soon disappear. In fact, AT&T has filed for a trademark for AT&T TV, which would be a perfect replacement name for U-verse. This could happen relatively soon.
— Phillip Swann