Two weeks ago the FCC fired off a letter that AT&T’s plan to offer free data service to mobile customers who use DirecTV Now “appears to present significant anti-competitive effects.”
In that letter they asked AT&T to reply to their concerns, and now AT&T has.
AT&T SVP Bob Quinn says in a letter to the FCC that free data to AT&T customers using DirecTV Now is “precisely the kind of pro-consumer challenges to cable that the Commission heralded in approving AT&T’s acquisition of DIRECTV,” saying data-free TV allows DirecTV to better compete with cable incumbents.
DirecTV Now, which “will offer customers the ability to stream more than 100 channels of DIRECTV content on any device from a smartphone to a 55 inch TV starting at $35 a month with no annual contract, no credit check, no installation charges, no set top box, and, for AT&T mobile customers, no data charges.”
AT&T’s letter to the FCC goes on to says the programs “faithfully adhere” to the FCC’s 2015 Open Internet order, which recognized that sponsored data programs can be pro-consumer. “AT&T will see escalating usage on its mobile network, where video already accounts for a clear majority of traffic. AT&T will need to respond to those new usage demands by making capital-intensive investments, which will add to the billions AT&T has already spent to keep up with skyrocketing mobile video usage.”
So it seems clear that AT&T has no plans to back down from their plans to offer free data to AT&T customers who also subscribe to DirecTV Now. So the question is who will blink first the FCC or AT&T.
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