AT&T U-verse shows signs of life

uversephoto.jpgAT&T has started offering their U-verse (video) users ability to remotely schedule program recordings, over the mobile and the web, according to a company press release. Typically, our response to this would have been like any TiVo user – yawn! But then we say this little nugget of information:

Overall, AT&T U-verse TV has grown rapidly since January, with approximately 18,000 U-verse television and Internet subscribers currently in service. AT&T’s average installation rate has ramped to approximately 2,000 installations a week — five times greater than its average rate in January.

That is about 300 subscribers a day, and a big jump from a total 3000 subscribers at the end of 2006. After a sluggish and an almost disappointing start, it seems, AT&T triple-play U-Verse finally getting some momentum.

UBS telecom analyst John Hodulik in a note to his clients points out that if things keep improving at the current rate, AT&T could easily surpass his current video subscriber estimate of 93,000. (He had predicted 300 installs a day by end of March 2007, so his data seems to be pretty accurate.)

Hodulik is expecting that daily installations will increase to 1,500 a day, as the year progresses, and if that happens then the company could end 2007 with 130,000 video subscribers. The big boost could come when AT&T launches in Los Angeles, a giant market. Ironically the company’s other video service, the satellite-based package is getting even more traction. AT&T added 165,000 news subscribers for the HomeZone satellite video service. [AT&T in a press release said that it had added about 180,000 video customers. If you take out the new 15,000 U-verse customers, then you are left with about 165,000 satellite video customers.]

How does this all compare with Verizon? UBS estimates that Verizon will add about 130,000 new subscribers for its FiOS video service in the first quarter, bringing the total to 337,000, or roughly 14% of homes open for sale.