AT&T’s John Stankey Talks Service Convergence

March 2, 2016 - Written By Daniel Fuller

If you’re reading this at home, the device you’re reading this on is probably on your home Wi-Fi, provided by a local provider who may also offer bundle deals with home phone and cable, as well as content packages. This has been a common tactic in home broadband for quite some time, but is only now starting to creep into the wireless world. Services like Verizon’s Go90 or some of AT&T’s DIRECTV offerings show how easy it can be to build a good bundle for wireless and other services, if you have the backend for it. AT&T in particular is making strides in this field, offering a companion deal to obtain unlimited mobile data with a DIRECTV subscription, as well as a mobile DIRECTV option that would go nicely hand-in-hand with their own wireless services.

AT&T’s CEO of Entertainment, John Stankey, believes that this sort of bundling is the future of the mobile business. He said as much at a Morgan Stanley press conference, saying that “Being a single play is not the place to be… It’s about bringing these services together, and that’s not for the faint of heart.” Stankey went on to point out that the coming revolution finds AT&T in a favorable position in respect to their current position and available services. With AT&T’s expansive backend and links to both home and wireless services, as well as legacy services like U-Verse, Stankey says that AT&T is in a great position and has “the opportunity to bundle”.

He also pointed out that this revolution comes as hardware innovation for smartphones and tablets is hitting a wall, leaving consumers with less and less reasons to upgrade to the latest and greatest devices as often as they used to and popularizing equipment installment plans that aren’t tied to a 2-year service contract. On that subject, Stankey said that history was repeating itself. As hardware in the PC market became good enough at or near the entry levels to tick all the boxes for most consumers, the rush to upgrade and the demand for high-end devices waned as virtualization and accessible services boomed, leading to a growth in the content distribution world. According to Stankey, that’s roughly what’s happening in the mobile market at the moment and AT&T is in a prime position to take advantage of it.