In a presentation to Wall Street analysts Tuesday morning, AT&T group president of telecom operations John Stankey said the U-verse TV video service will reach the 1 million-subscriber milestone by the end of 2008.
AT&T’s Internet-protocol-TV service, which had 126,000 subscribers at the end of the third quarter, is averaging more than 10,000 installs per week, and AT&T is targeting more than 40,000 weekly installs by the end of 2008.
In recent months, AT&T has been linked to rumors that would have it acquiring EchoStar Communications’ Dish Network as a video complement to its telecommunications and broadband offerings. The company affirmed its commitment to U-verse TV Tuesday, driving home the message that it expects to “dramatically grow” the service over the next few years as a direct competitor to cable.
Last month, the company revised higher its spending estimate for U-verse TV for the 2007-08 period by $500 million, to $4.5 billion-$5 billion, reflecting higher costs for expansion in the Southeast. The estimated number of homes passed by U-verse TV through 2008 was also scaled back to 17 million from the previously guided 18 million.
AT&T also announced Tuesday morning that it was increasing its dividend by 12.7% and authorized the buyback of 400 million shares of stock. That caused a spike in the company’s stock price this morning, up $2.16 or 5.7% to $40.06 per share in late-morning trading.