Q. I read your article about DIRECTV raising prices again and my question is why, why, why?!! They do this every year. Don’t they understand that many of us are fed up and might cut the cord? — Tom, Gaithersburg, Maryland.
Tom, you’re right. AT&T, which owns DIRECTV, has revealed that, starting next month, it’s raising prices for both the satellite TV service, and its other pay TV outfit, U-verse.
For DIRECTV, the increase will range from $1 a month to $8 a month, depending upon the package. There will also be an increase in the Regional Sports Channel fee by as much as $2 a month. (For more details, see our article here.)
AT&T says the price hikes are necessary to offset the escalating cost of acquiring programming.
“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 AT&T notice reads.
In case you don’t know, pay TV providers, such as DIRECTV and U-verse, have to pay the networks to carry their signals. And it’s a fact that the networks are demanding more money every year. That’s a major reason why the two pay TV operators have raised their prices every January for the last several years.
But there is something different about this year, which perhaps AT&T doesn’t understand or chooses to ignore.
Many DIRECTV subscribers, such as yourself, are ready to drop their service. They’ve had enough with the rising prices, and what they perceive is poor customer service from AT&T.
I receive countless e-mails from DIRECTV customers that express a desire for AT&T to sell the satcaster to another company. They say if AT&T doesn’t stop raising prices, and in their view, continue to lower the quality of service, they are cutting the cord.
It should be no surprise that since AT&T purchased DIRECTV in 2015, the nation’s top satellite TV service has lost a net of nearly three million customers. The advent of cord-cutting is certainly a cause, but dissatisfaction over AT&T may be just as important.
So AT&T is taking a major gamble in raising prices once again, no matter how necessary it may be due to programming costs. For many subscribers, it could be the straw that broke the camel’s back.
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— Phillip Swann