The spinning off of AT&T’s TV businesses into a New DirecTV company has now received approval from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). AT&T first announced the plan, which includes AT&T TV, DirecTV and U-verse, earlier in the year. As per usual, the announcement came with a subject to approval caveat. A green light that’s now been given by the FCC.
In February, AT&T announced that it has struck a deal with TPG Capital to create a New DirecTV company. While AT&T will remain majorly invested, the new company will assume all control over AT&T’s video unit, allowing AT&T to focus on its other interests, such as 5G wireless, fiber and HBO Max.
Now, those plans have taken a major step forward with the FCC having approved a transfer of the control of licenses from AT&T to New DirecTV. Furthermore, there are no caveats to the FCC’s decision. The FCC order explained how there was no evidence found to suggest the deal would have an adverse effect on the market and that it is in the public interest to approve the proposed transaction.
In the original announcement, AT&T explained that subscribers to any of its video services wouldn’t see any material difference to their experience. Essentially, AT&T promised a “seamless customer transition” that allows customers to keep their existing plans and bundles, as well as any discounts they already receive, as they are transitioned over from AT&T video customers to New DirecTV customers.
Possibility of a name change, however
While existing customers shouldn’t necessarily expect any changes to the experience, it is likely the name of the service will change. This is to be expected, considering the service they are currently subscribed to will no longer be an AT&T service. While it still remains unclear what the change in branding will be, it is possible that AT&T TV will become DirecTV Stream. The AT&T TV website, along with at least one third-party reseller have found to be already referencing the DirecTV Stream name, adding further weight to the likelihood.
Regardless of any changes to the name of the service and branding, it also still remains unclear when existing customers can expect the change to take full effect. AT&T originally stated that the transaction was not expected to close until some time in the second half of 2021, a time-frame that’s even more on track following approval by the FCC.