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10 Feb

AT&T Labor Negotiations – 21000 Workers May Vote For Strike

TV Providers

AT&T Call Center

It is expected that another 21,000 workers at AT&T will authorize a strike in votes this week. This strike is intended to be a show of seriousness at the start of negotiations over a recently made contract. It is reported that the current contract that covers wireless retail, technical, and call center workers in 36 states will expire on February 11, 2017.

This expected vote follows a similar move by 17,000 AT&T employees in the traditional wired phone business of AT&T in California and Nevada. These employees were working without a contract since the month of April. “AT&T is underestimating their workers’ anger, frustration, and commitment to winning a fair contract,” said Dennis Trainer, who is the vice president for District 1 of the AT&T workers’ union, under the Communications Workers of America.

However, despite of the strike authorization vote, which is not an uncommon bargaining tactic, AT&T said that they remain committed to find common ground. AT&T had a long history of labor peace with their employees and their main union, the Communications Workers of America. Last strike in AT&T was before five years and it lasted only two days, whereas about 40,000 workers in Verizon went out on strike for seven weeks last year.

“A strike vote is not an unexpected step in negotiations of this sort and is often a part of the process,” an AT&T representative said. “We’re continuing to bargain with the union and we’re committed to reaching a fair agreement that will allow us to continue to provide solid union-represented careers with excellent wages and benefits.”

DirecTV Choice Package

Workers Vote For Strike

AT&T proposed removing the pension benefits for the fresh recruits, decreasing the number of sick days, and paying one third of the health care insurance premium cost, but they declined to comment on their specific proposals. However, one of the officials said that they are not seeking to take away any benefits or cut employee pay.

Like the Verizon employees, who went out on strike, AT&T workers also highlighted the outsourcing of call center jobs outside the country. Employees of Verizon said that the carrier has moved 8,000 call center jobs since 2011 to different countries like Mexico, Dominican Republic, and Philippines. Halting the offshore outsourcing of call center jobs was also the prime point of a letter from seven Democratic senators to President Trump.

10 Jan

Last Chance To Grab DirecTV Now’s 100+ Channels For 35 Dollars

DirecTV Choice Package

DirecTV Now Go Big Plan

If you are planning to get DirecTV Now service promotional price of thirty-five dollars a month for more than hundred channels, act immediately because this is your last chance!

This promotional price for the DirecTV Now Go Big pack will end on January 10, and after that, the 100+ streaming package will jump to sixty dollar per month. However, if you manage to lock into the thirty-five dollars a month promotional price now, you will always get the 100 plus channels package for just 35 dollars a month until you cancel the service.

When AT&T announced that they would offer such huge breadth of programming for 35 dollars a month, it seemed like a game changer. Experts believed that DirecTV Now would be a great deal for people who are looking to get rid of their big cable packages.

However, there were a few big issues when the service was released. It suffered outages, false blackouts, and strange error messages. There were also issues with some of the local affiliate stations, meaning that some of the users were unable to watch their local broadcast stations even though they paid for it.

On top of that, there is no cloud DVR available with DirecTV Now, even though AT&T says the feature is coming. All this will be a pain for you if you are used to the cable experience. Yet the decision will depend on what you need out of the streaming service.


DirecTV Now Service

If you are looking to cut costs on your cable bill while having a service that offer a similar experience, then DirecTV Now is not for you. You would definitely be frustrated with the service, at least until AT&T solves the issues.

DirecTV Now will be a great deal for the cord nevers though. These people never had a cable subscription, and DirecTV for thirty-five dollars will make it very easy for this group of people to watch TV, as they want.

Besides that, the HBO add-on option for just five dollars a month is a big advantage. AT&T said that their DirecTV Now service is for people who have dropped out of pay TV services.

If you never had a cable subscription, you can consider having DirecTV Now, as you will not be able to find comparable programming at such low prices from any of the competing services like Sling TV or PlayStation Vue.

04 Jan

WSOC Blacked Out On AT&T DirecTV, But Returns After New Deal


U-Verse Channels

AT&T and WSOC-TV agreed that it is a shame that DirecTV and U-Verse users lost access to the Charlotte ABC affiliate on New Year’s Eve, and the drama was over by the end of the day. Cox Media Group announced on Sunday that they have reached deals with both U-Verse and DirecTV services for WSOC and the signals would be returning to the services soon.

Interestingly, both AT&T and Cox Media Group blamed the other for the failure to have a contract. This led to WAXN (Channel 64) and WSOC (Channel 9) blacking out on DirecTV and U-Verse packages. Joe Pomilla, vice president and general manager of WSOC-TV, blamed DirecTV and U-Verse for refusing to pay reasonable rates to support local programming.

“Producing and broadcasting high-rated, top-quality programming is very expensive,” the station said in an online Q&A. “WSOC-TV invests hundreds of thousands of dollars in our local news, weather and emergency programming. Without the fees from cable and satellite operators, this would not be possible.”

DirecTV Choice Package

DirecTV Services

However, Josh Gelinas, the communications director for AT&T, replied that Cox Broadcasting, which owns the WSOC-TV stations, is asking for “a significant increase in fees just to allow the same families to keep watching shows that remain available for free over-the-air on channels 9 and 64, and that ABC typically streams for free at abc.com and to fans using the WatchABC app.”

The Q&A shared in the WSOC website notes that they have reached agreements with all the other major satellite and cable TV companies like Comcast and Dish Network. “Naturally, we cannot give away our product for less than it is worth,” the statement says.

AT&T said that Cox Media Group has been involved brief shutdowns during the various contract negotiations that has taken place in the past, “so we appreciate our customers’ patience as we work to resolve this matter quickly and reasonably.”

If a deal was not made between WSOC-TV and AT&T, the ABC affiliate would have been dropped from all DirecTV packages and U-Verse channel list forever. Return of the WSOC-TV channels to DirecTV and U-Verse is happy news for the WSOC-TV fans.

09 Dec

FCC Says DirecTV Offer From AT&T Means Less Competition

DirecTV Choice Package

DirecTV Offer From AT&T

Wireless users of AT&T may love the fact that they can watch DirecTV Now on their mobile devices without the streaming hitting their data caps. The Federal Communications Commission is not wild about this idea, but the arrival of DirecTV Now internet based streaming service, which also does not count against the data caps for AT&T users, could invite scrutiny to the issue.

In a letter written to AT&T, FCC Wireless Telecommunications Bureau chief Jon Wilkins said that he is much concerned that the carrier is violating net neutrality, as they offer data cap exemption on DirecTV that flows inside their network. As of now, AT&T is charging third party video providers who wish to deliver their video content to the users, but does not want their video to count on the data cap of the user.

FCC had brought their concern to AT&T last month and said that the decision of AT&T to allow users to stream DirecTV video content without any data caps may violate the net neutrality rules. The concern of FCC is that the third-party video providers need to pay AT&T a fee if they need to deliver their content on DirecTV Now services without affecting the data caps, while AT&T’s own TV services do not need to pay a fee.


Wireless Telecommunications Bureau

In reply to that, AT&T said that they are not violating the net neutrality rules and said to FCC that it should not matter if a customer or content provider is paying for the data usage. AT&T also said that DirecTV pays them to sidestep data caps. However, FCC still has their concerns and Wilkins said AT&T that the response of the carrier “tends to confirm” the initial concerns of FCC. He also added that the competitors of AT&T might not be able to “compete over AT&T’s network on reasonable terms.”

It is not just AT&T that draws scrutiny from FCC. The Commission also contacted Verizon recently about their FreeBee Data 360 program. This program charges providers for the right to move aside data caps. Verizon has time until Dec 15 to respond to the concerns of FCC.

The criticism of AT&T by FCC is much important, as they have released DirecTV Now service, which is the live streaming service from AT&T aimed at cord cutters and cord-nevers. In his letter to AT&T, Wilkins cites DirecTV Now and argues that the pricing of AT&T on data could make it “very difficult, if not infeasible, to offer a competitively priced service.”

30 Nov

AT&T Reveals More Details On DirecTV Now Pricing

DirecTV Choice Package

DirecTV Now Pricing

AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson was clear about a few things during his announcement regarding DirecTV Now last month. He promised that the online streaming service would offer more than a hundred channels that includes “all the premium” channels customers wish for. He also added that this service would be available to subscribers for just $35 a month.

This announcement from the telecom company was highly greeted by subscribers and analysts, as this offering was the best package offered by a streaming service provider. However, AT&T revealed the entire pricing details of DirecTV Now a few days ago, and it might be a little less appealing for some than what they expected earlier.

Reports say that the offering of more than a hundred channels at just $35 a month will be available only to those subscribers, who sign up within a few days of the launch of the streaming service. As per the new pricing details, new subscribers who pay $35 will receive 60 popular channels. In addition to that, three more standard packages are available to DirecTV Now subscribers, which they can subscribe to: 120 channels for $70, 100 channels for $60, and 80 channels for $50 a month.

Nevertheless, subscribers will have to pay an additional amount of $5 per month, if they want to access the premium channels Cinemax and HBO. AT&T has also confirmed that their latest venture will be available only in the United States at the time of its launch. Reports from several reliable sources indicate that DirecTV Now will be available to subscribers by November 30.

Cheapest Cable TV

60 Channels At $35

Stephenson had earlier claimed that subscribers would be able to access “all in” on premium channels at just $35 a month. He also added that the Time Warner owned channels such as HBO would also be available to the subscribers through DirecTV Now.

“[DirecTV Now] is for the first time, 100-plus premium channels, all right, this isn’t the junk nobody wants,” Stephenson said during the announcement. “This is 100-plus premium channels, purely over the top, a mobile-centric platform for $35 a month. It has all of [Time Warner’s] content, it has all the premium content you know and love and like to watch, $35 a month, and that includes your mobile streaming costs, streaming it over the mobile Internet. So, $35, pretty much all in.”

However, the recent announcement by AT&T says, “Customers who sign up for this offer will continue to enjoy this special price for as long as you keep the package, subject only to future reasonable programming price increases applicable to all packages.”

07 Oct

El Paso Subscribers Welcome Spectrum

Cable TV Alternatives

El Paso Subscribers

Time Warner Cable, one of El Paso’s long time cable and internet provider, will now be available to the subscribers under a brand new name, Spectrum. Reports indicate that the company has already started to sell its new brand to the subscribers. Spectrum will replace Time Warner Cable as the phone, cable TV, and internet service provider in El Paso.

Regional spokesman in Fort Worth for Charter Communications, Brian Anderson, said, “Over coming months you will see Time Warner signs and logos changed to SpectrumNew Spectrum packages are now available. But that doesn’t mean you have to take any action if you are a (current) Time Warner customer and are happy with your (products) package.”

Charter Communications successfully completed their acquisition of Time Warner Cable last May. Time Warner Cable was the second largest leading internet and cable TV provider in the country at the time of acquisition. Moreover, Charter also signed a deal with Bright House Networks, who holds the sixth position for the nation’s largest cable operator.

Reports indicate that Charter communications paid approximately $70 billion to both Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks in order to acquire the companies. However, this deal has helped Charter Communications to become the second largest cable provider of the nation. The first position is currently held by Comcast, which is based in Philadelphia.

Charter significantly boosted their internet speed from 50 Mbps to 60 Mbps for their El Paso subscribers after acquiring these major companies. In addition to that, the internet speed in the Waco, San Antonio, Austin, and Dallas regions were also boosted to 100 Mbps after the merger.

DirecTV Choice Package

Charter Spectrum Services

Anderson said that just like Time Warner Cable, Spectrum internet, TV, and phone packages would not have any contracts. He also claimed that Spectrum offers internet, TV, and phone services at a comparatively low cost for their El Paso subscribers.

Nonetheless, it is noted that the costs for individual bundles are a bit higher. El Paso subscribers of Time Warner Cable will have to pay $45 per month for basic internet package with home Wi-Fi, which offers an impressive internet speed of 60 Mbps. Moreover, subscribers will also have to pay an additional amount of $10 as a one-time Wi-Fi activation fee.

03 Oct

Rishtey Cineplex Will Be Available On Dish And Sling Platforms

Dish Network Packages

Rishtey Cineplex

Rishtey Cineplex, the Hindi movie channel from Viacom18, will be now available to the Dish and Sling TV subscribers in the United States. Viacom18 has recently offered a free-to-air service on Sky for the US customers. Moreover, this channel will also be available on UK’s FTA platform Freeview.

This movie channel from Viacom18 will offer US subscribers access to a wide variety of films on different genres. Films with heart-warming romance, soulful dramas, rib-tickling comedy, adrenalin-packed action, and a lot more are available on Rishtey Cineplex.

In addition to this, recently released Indian movies will also be available to Dish Network packages and Sling TV subscribers through this channel. Some of the latest Bollywood movies included in Rishtey Cineplex catalogue are Kapoor and Sons, Pyaar Ka Punchnama, Airlift, Bajirao Mastani, and Ki & Ka.

Viacom18 Group CEO, Sudhanshu Vats said that, “The Indian film industry has grown in terms of both reach and revenue and is now the largest producer of movies in the world. Our cinema, led by Bollywood movies, continues to increase its pull with the overseas Indian Diasporas.”

“Rishtey Cineplex, Viacom18’s first premium Hindi movie channel, has curated an impressive repertoire of Indian titles. It is our endeavour, to take Indian cinema, as a holistic entertainment package, to our loyal viewers in Europe and North America; allowing us to further strengthen our presence in these regions,” he added.

CEO for Hindi Mass Entertainment at Viacom18, Raj Nayak commented that, “Rishtey CINEPLEX has every ingredient that a movie buff would want to be engaged with. Global audiences today celebrate Indian films, and with the channel’s launch in Europe and North America, we are bringing this celebration to their living rooms.”

He further said that, “Indian films now have a universal appeal, as a result of which they taste tremendous success in International markets. The trend in consumption has been extremely encouraging and we are certain that the viewers will lap-up our content offering with great zeal.”

Rishtey Cineplex will be an absolute treat for Dish audience, as their abundant collection of excellent films in vivid genre will certainly amuse viewers. In addition to that, this Hindi movie channel also broadcasts entertaining programs such as behind-the-scenes trivia, film festivals, and exclusive Red Carpet events.

DirecTV Choice Package

Sling TV Service

Anuj Gandhi, Group CEO at Indiacast said, “After Colors and Rishtey, we now introduce our brand new offering, Rishtey Cineplex for the viewers in Europe and North America. The Indian and the South Asian expatriate population is growing across the world, and so is their love for Indian films.”

“Our offerings have always resonated with such audiences catering to their intrinsic viewing needs. With Rishtey Cineplex, we are looking forward to strengthening our relationship with our partners along with our audiences,” he added.

28 Sep

DirecTV Now Will Become The Primary Video Platform Of AT&T

DirecTV Choice Package

DirecTV Now

Reports indicate that the latest streaming service from AT&T Inc, DirecTV Now, will become the primary video platform of the company by the year 2020. AT&T has been working very hard to launch a video-delivery system, which is capable of carrying multiple live feeds to broadband subscribers.

DirecTV Now will be available to the subscribers by the end of the year and this streaming service will enable subscribers to access their favorite programs and other quality channels without the need for a satellite dish or cable hookup. AT&T is planning to target almost 20 million households, who have not yet subscribed to any satellite or cable services, and are commonly referred to as cord-nevers.

The latest streaming service from AT&T will offer more than 100 popular channels and allow a user to stream the content on more than one device simultaneously. In the Goldman Sachs Communacopia conference, which was held at New York, CEO Randall Stephenson said that, “This is exclusively an over-the-top product. This is no set-top box; this is no truck roll, this is a customer pulling down an app, getting a very robust platform.”

AT&T has been searching for different strategies to fight against major TV competitors such as Amazon.com Inc. and Netflix Inc. These streaming services have attracted plenty of subscribers by offering them streaming services at a much lower price. AT&T successfully acquired satellite provider DirecTV back in 2015 in an estimated $48.5 billion deal. Yet, AT&T had to face an approximate loss of 100,000 TV customers since 2016.

Dish Network Packages

Primary Video Platform

The telco giant is planning to initially target their budget-minded consumers through their latest online streaming platform. AT&T has also promised that their wireless subscribers will receive the DirecTV Now streaming service for free. However, they have not yet revealed the pricing details for the service.

It is expected that AT&T will be able to cut down their customer service costs and offer the streaming service at a competitive price to other streaming service providers such as Sony Corp., if the company can attract more subscribers. However, DirecTV Now will have to face a tight competition from Dish Network’s Sling TV, as the basic package from Sling begins at $20 and offers 28 popular channels.

23 Sep

AT&T Signs Deal With Major Networks

Dish Network Channel List

New Deals With Major Networks

AT&T has successfully secured the rights of numerous networks for DirecTV’s upcoming online streaming platform. They have added major television networks such as HBO, Turner, NBCUniversal, and Disney over the last few months.

AT&T has been expanding their networks for their online streaming service by renewing their contracts with major companies. AT&T entered into a new partnership with Cinemax and HBO back in August, and later in September, they announced deals with Discovery Communications, Turner, and NBCUniversal.

The company earlier announced that they are going to launch three DirecTV streaming services by the end of this year. CEO Randall Stephenson stated that AT&T is planning to target the customers, who do not have pay TV subscriptions through their online streaming services.

In a recent earnings conference call, Bob Iger, said, that “AT&T DirecTV, the largest distributor in the country, will feature ESPN, ESPN2, ABC, Freeform, Disney Channel, Disney XD and Disney Junior in all subscription packages offered in its upcoming DirecTV Now OTT service.”

On their deal with Discovery, chief content officer for AT&T, Dan York said that, “By adding the Discovery networks to the growing DirecTV Now lineup, we are continuing to build a streaming service for the connected generation that we believe will be second-to-none in the industry.”

When asked about HBO deal, he said, “Our agreement with HBO is groundbreaking in the pay TV and wireless industries as well as the premium category. With this agreement, we have created easy access to subscribe and consume HBO’s premium content across all of our platforms.”

President of Turner, David Levy said that, “Turner’s goal as a consumer-first media company is to make our content available everywhere our audience is, and this expansive deal with AT&T helps deliver on that promise by having our leading portfolio of popular networks and premium programming available on more services and platforms than ever before.”

DirecTV Choice Package

DirecTV Streaming Service

“We’re pleased to further our relationship with AT&T and look forward to providing our leading networks and programming to them as they launch additional consumer offerings to their expansive subscriber base,” he added.

President of global distribution for HBO, Simon Sutton, said that, “We are thrilled to extend and deepen our valued and long-standing relationship with AT&T by announcing this groundbreaking agreement.”

“The entertainment landscape has evolved, and we are excited to innovate on both AT&T’s traditional and new platforms to further provide premium quality, extraordinary value and accessibility to viewers anywhere.”

20 Sep

$100 Gift Cards From DirecTV In This NFL Season

DirecTV Choice Package

Gift Cards From DirecTV

According to some press statements, $100 gift cards will be given out by DirecTV in this NFL season. NFL season started from September 8 and it runs to over 5 months until the Super Bowl game on February 5, 2017. Every year, NFL season is celebrated by DirecTV with their NFL Sunday Ticket package. And now, the new promotion of $100 gift cards is expected to attract more football fans.

The new customers will have to order for the DirecTV Choice package or above in order to qualify for the deal. Subscribers who added the NFL Sunday Ticket will be involuntarily qualified for the gift cards. The gift cards will be in the form of the VISA reward cards by DirecTV.

DirecTV has other sports packages as well, other than the NFL Sunday Ticket, which offer amazing sporting entertainment to viewers. Other packs include pay-per-view sports events, tennis, soccer, golf, MLB Extra Innings, NHL Center Ice, NBA League Pass, DirecTV Sports Pack, as well as international sports.

NFL Sunday Ticket is a major advantage of DirecTV. They also have the Fantasy Zone Channel and the Red Zone Channel in their offering, which allow customers to watch 8 NFL games simultaneously. Besides that, NFL On Demand will also be available to the subscribers.


NFL Season Offer

Nevertheless, some of the DirecTV packages are not included in the free gift card promo. DirecTV Entertainment package (All Included) and DirecTV Select package (All Included) are among the ones that do not have the access to the $100 gift card. However, many premium channels in DirecTV are offered free to most of the packages for a limited time.

DirecTV systems have a remote controlled digital set top box receiver and satellite dish. DirecTV has additional equipments that you can add to the basic system. Several types of receivers are also available that will change how you watch the NFL games. DirecTV’s latest DVR receiver Genie can record and play the shows in different rooms without the need of a separate DVR for each room.


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