DIRECTV next month will raise prices on most programming packages for existing customers by $1 a month to $8 a month as well as increase the Regional Sports Channel fee by as much as $2 a month, AT&T, which owns DIRECTV, has revealed in a notice posted at its web site.

U-verse, also owned by AT&T, will raise most programming plans by $3 a month to $7 a month, and raise its ‘Broadcast Surcharge Fee’ by $2 a month.

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DIRECTV (and other pay TV providers) has hiked prices on programming packages in January for several years in a row, blaming the rising cost of program acquisition. This year, AT&T again attributes the need to raise prices for U-verse and DIRECTV on increased carriage fees.

“Because our programming costs went up, we have to raise our monthly prices for select packages starting January 19, 2020. You’ll see the new pricing on your bill,” the notice reads.

DIRECTV’s 2017 price increase ranged from $2 a month to $6 a month while the 2018 hike was $2 a month to $8 a month. The 2019 increase was $1 a month to $8 a month, the same as last year.

While it’s accurate that programming costs have increased in recent years, this price hike will not help AT&T’s effort to stop more DIRECTV subscribers from dropping their service. Since AT&T purchased DIRECTV in 2015, the nation’s top satellite TV service has lost a net of nearly three million customers with many defecting subs complaining about high prices.

DIRECTV’S current non-promotional prices range from $81 a month for the Select package to $189 a month for Premier.

The DIRECTV rate increases coming in January 2020 will include the following plans:

* BASIC CHOICE — $1 a month increase
* SELECT — $4 a month increase
* MAS LATINO — $3 a month
* ENTERTAINMENT — $4 a month increase
* CHOICE — $5 a month
* TOTAL CHOICE — $5 a month
* CHOICE XTRA CLASSIC — $7 a month increase
* TOTAL CHOICE LIMITED — $5 a month increase
* PREFERRED XTRA, XTRA, ULTIMATE — $7 a month increase
* PREMIER — $8 a month.

DIRECTV says it will not increase the price of the Family plan. However, the satellite TV service says it will also raise the regional sports channel fee from $1.50 a month to $2 a month in most markets.

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U-verse is raising the price of the following plans starting January 20, 2020:

* U-FAMILY, U-100 — $3 a month
* U-200, U-300 — $5 a month
* U-400, U-450 — $7 a month

AT&T will not raise the price of the U-basic plan, but it will raise price of its broadcast plan from $1.50 a month to $2 a month.

The AT&T notice says if you are on a current DIRECTV promotion, your discount will continue until it ends or expires. Once your promotional period ends, you will be charged at your new programming package prices, unless you change packages during the promotion. Then, the new pricing will become effective immediately.

— Phillip Swann

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