SBC Communications Adds New "Dish" to the Menu, Launches "Quadruple Play" Bundle With Satellite TV
For more information, contact:
Howard Riefs, SBC Communications 414.520.3535
SBC | DISH Network offers start at $29.99; Most complete, integrated bundle of local/long distance, wireless, broadband, TV available in SBC service area for about $125/month – a $380/year savings
MILWAUKEE, March 3, 2004 – In a move expected to reshape the telecommunications and television entertainment landscape, SBC Communications Inc. (NYSE: SBC) and EchoStar Communications Corp. (NASDAQ: DISH) today launched SBC | DISH Network satellite TV service across the SBC service area – 13 states and 55 million telephone lines – offering consumers new choices, significant values and unmatched convenience.
With the SBC | DISH Network rollout, the SBC family of companies becomes the first major telecommunications provider in the nation to offer TV, wireless, broadband and local/long distance service, all with one call and one monthly bill – a “strategic quadruple play” that significantly enhances customer benefits. In the future, SBC and EchoStar companies plan to develop set-top boxes that combine the features of satellite TV, digital video recording, broadband, home networking and telecommunications services – moving to truly integrated telecommunications and entertainment services that will provide greater interactivity, features and functionality for consumers.
“The future begins today when it comes to buying entertainment and communications services,” said Edward E. Whitacre Jr., SBC chairman and chief executive officer. “We now have perhaps the premier bundle in the industry. No competitor can surpass our compelling choices, great values and seamless customer experience.”
No other major telecommunications provider in the nation has a more fully integrated relationship with a satellite TV provider or has greater benefit and customer experience available today on a broad basis.
SBC | DISH Network satellite TV programming prices start as low as $29.99 a month and all SBC | DISH Network packages include local channels (where available) at no additional cost, free standard professional installation for up to four TVs, no long-term commitment requirements, no equipment purchase, and a choice of receivers, featuring the latest technology – including a digital video recorder* (DVR) and a high-definition receiver.*
Plus, SBC customers with a qualifying SBC Connections bundle (a combination of SBC local service, SBC Long Distance and a package of call management features) who order any of the following entertainment packages (except America’s Top 60 or DISH Latino) will receive a $4 a-month limited-time promotional discount.
· America’s Top 60, $29.99, featuring more than 60 channels of the most popular programming.
· America’s Top 120, $39.99
· America’s Top 180, $49.99
· America’s Top 120 plus HBO, $53.98, America’s Top 120 plus eight channels of HBO.
· America’s “Everything” Pak, $82.99, featuring the top 180 channels, plus 31 premium channels of HBO, Cinemax, Showtime and Starz!
· DISH Latino Package, $29.99, featuring 31 Spanish-language channels, the most competitively priced international programming package.
The SBC | DISH Network all digital package prices offer a compelling alternative to average cable packages. Additionally, the SBC | DISH Network entertainment packages feature options (like a digital video recorder), as attractive as any offered by cable competitors. And all SBC | DISH Network packages include 100 percent digital TV programming.
Customers who purchase SBC local service and long distance, Cingular Wireless and SBC Yahoo! DSL (or Dial) receive discounts on most services as part of the company’s “the more you buy, the more you save” approach. This bundle, called SBC Total Connections**, plus SBC | DISH Network programming, starts roughly at a total of $125 a month, with a savings of more than $380 a year compared with a la carte pricing. If SBC Yahoo! Dial is chosen, or basic SBC | DISH Network programming packages, prices and savings are lower.
The current SBC-EchoStar agreement builds upon a relationship that began in mid-2002. Before today, SBC customers who wanted to order DISH Network were transferred to DISH Network and received a separate bill. The new agreement, modeled after the highly successful SBC-Yahoo! alliance, created a tighter relationship that will take full advantage of the SBC brand, customer relationships and powerful sales channels.
For the past six months, a dedicated SBC-EchoStar team has worked to develop simplified ordering tools, integrate billing systems, train thousands of employees and create a seamless customer experience. Today, customers in the 13-state SBC service area can enjoy a single point of contact for ordering, scheduling installation and billing and round-the-clock customer care provided by specially trained SBC | DISH Network representatives.
“SBC | DISH Network is an exciting new choice for consumers – especially those fed up with rising cable rates,” said Charles Ergen, chairman and CEO of EchoStar.
In a recent Forrester Research report, “SBC Makes a Smart Choice With EchoStar,” senior telecommunications analyst Charles Golvin said this is a strategically beneficial move for both companies. Golvin stated that SBC companies will develop service bundles that add video to the current mix of telephony and data products, while EchoStar will get the distribution muscle it needs and will be able to leverage the strong SBC brand in its regions to accelerate satellite TV’s market share.
More than 15,000 SBC customer service representatives will offer SBC | DISH Network service to the millions of customers who contact the company each month. Plus, a multimillion-dollar SBC advertising, direct mail and customer communications campaign will support the new service.
Independent and company research underscores consumer interest in bundling communications and entertainment services. Last year, 40 percent of consumers said they would like to purchase all of their communications services (local, long distance, broadband, wireless, and television) from a local phone company, according to a J.D. Power and Associates study1.
Meanwhile, the satellite TV audience grows as the cost of cable increases. Consumer spending on cable service has increased 41 percent in the last five years, moving from an average of $35.15 a month in 1998 to $49.62 a month in 2003, a J.D. Power and Associates survey found.2 A recent Federal Communications Commission report3 found that cable prices have risen 53 percent in the past 10 years, more than double the increase in the Consumer Price Index over the same period.
SBC | DISH Network provides access to hundreds of popular, all-digital television channels, including movies, sports, news, international and children’s programming. SBC | DISH Network also features several high-definition programming channels, as well as commercial-free, CD-quality music channels of Sirius Radio.
To order SBC | DISH Network service, please call 1-866-722-7500. For additional charges, qualifications, and restrictions on these offers, consumers can call 1-866-722-7500 or visit our Web site at www.sbc.com/news_room.