AT&T is upping the ante with its Over-the-Top video game.
AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson on Wednesday said AT&T customers will soon have access to more than 100 zero-rated channels through the forthcoming DirecTV Now app.
According to Stephenson, the new app will be offered at a “very aggressive price point” and will be available to subscribers across all wireless carriers. For AT&T subs, however, streaming from the app won’t be counted against their data cap.
“We’ll be rolling it out in a couple of months,” Stephenson said at an investor conference. “We’re talking 100 plus channels at a very, very aggressive price point…If you choose to use that in a mobile environment on AT&T, your data cost is incorporated into your content cost.”
Stephenson said AT&T believes consumers will quickly become acclimated to consuming DirecTV content on their mobile devices, which is why the carrier is holding 40 MHz of spectrum in reserve to be deployed as its customers consume more and more mobile video. Stephenson said AT&T is confident it can scale in a “robust” manner to keep up with the demand.
“We feel really good about our ability to scale this kind of product,” Stephenson said. “We think we’re demonstrating with our TV Everywhere product right now our ability to scale this. The platform the NFL Sunday ticket rides on is an AT&T platform. Last week, if you looked at the number of people streaming the NFL Sunday Ticket, just week over week it was up 60 percent, which is a stunning number.”
Dropping the cost per MB
Stephenson on Wednesday also said AT&T is on a mission to improve its cost structure to deliver the lowest cost per megabyte for delivery in the world.
“We’re going to have a cost structure advantage on content by virtue of scale,” Stephenson said. “By virtue of integration of all of these network capabilities, everything from the wireless access points to the software defined networking all the way through to the fixed broadband capability, we are on a path – we’re pretty confident in this – that the cost to deliver a megabyte of data, we’re going to have the lowest cost – our target is – in the world. That is the mission we’re on and we actually think we have line of sight to making that happen.”
According to Stephenson, software-defined networking will be key to achieving this goal, but spectrum will also be a crucial element. Stephenson said the carrier has already invested a lot of money in spectrum, and said the 40 MHz of unused spectrum in its back pocket will provide a “massive” cost structure advantage moving forward.