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How The AT&T - DirecTV Deal May Affect Local Subscribers

Reported: May. 19, 2014 10:41 PM EDT
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SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. (Stefano DiPietrantonio) - A deal between AT&T and DirecTV could mean some major service changes coming soon, but should customers be worried? If anything, customers may be excited with some of the technological perks, which will come with it.

This is huge, when you consider the thousands of DirecTV customers here in West Virginia. We met a local businessman, who deals in DirecTV and other phone services. He only hopes though, the new deal won't put him out of business.

"I hope AT&T's gonna take a guy like me and keep me in business of course!," said Karl Brudke, who added, most customers are on 2-year contracts, so their initial deal would not change immediately if or when the merger goes through.

It's the nearly 50-billion dollar deal Brudke said could solidify his business for many years to come.

"I’m also known as Krazy Karl, which is what they call me!," said Brudke of Digital Concepts in South Charleston.

Brudke and his brother have owned their business since 1998 and have sold DirecTV for the last 8 years and have survived all sorts of tech industry changes.

"I think this merger is gonna be great for the consumer!,” said Brudke. “It might drive down some of the cable prices, because it's gonna be all wireless!"

But he remembers all too well, when Verizon bought out the old West Virginia Wireless in 2006 and he lost 20-thousand dollars overnight! The AT&T - DirecTV merger gained steam, after Comcast's 45-billion dollar offer for Time-Warner two months ago.

"The big question is as all of these companies try to combine themselves to take advantage of that streaming, and it is the sports streaming but it's the other streaming as well," said Mark Lanier of the Lanier Law Firm. "They gotta be able to consolidate and the regulatory authorities will see that."

AT&T's existing TV service called U-Verse, only has about 5 million subscribers. The combination with DirecTV will add 20 million more customers! But the push is to go all mobile, phone, internet and TV on your smartphone or tablet. Also, look for additions like home security, something which is a feature other service providers offer right now.

"I can watch my son being babysat, anywhere I go on my smartphone!," said Brudke.

For DirecTV, this would be the first time it can offer broadband internet to its U.S. customers.

"And I can watch my TV on the boat, you can't take cable to the boat. you can't take cable to the beach. I can watch DirecTV on my laptop anywhere I go!," said Brudke.

A possible deal breaker though. DirecTV's NFL Sunday Ticket package is now in its last season. The all-in-one package is the signature product for DirecTV customers. And if they do not renew the contract, AT&T could possibly walk away from the deal.



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