Ma Bell met analysts' expectations with solid third-quarter numbers. Later, on a conference call with analysts Tuesday, AT&T CFO Rick Lindner was asked if he could share some information on whether the company was pursuing a deal with
"There's always speculation in the market place," said Lindner, "We just don't comment on M&A rumors." Lindner went on to say that AT&T's strategy with satellite TV partners hasn't changed. AT&T offers its customers satellite broadcasts to fill in a bundle of product offerings that can compete with cable companies.
One week ago,
reported that AT&T had
hired investment banking shop Goldman Sachs to explore a possible deal with the Dish network provider.
AT&T is investing heavily to expand its network to offer its own TV service as part of a phone and Internet triple play package to keep customers from switching to cable companies. The two-year-old TV effort, called U-Verse, gained 75,000 new customers in the third quarter, below some analysts' projections.
Lindner says it currently takes about seven hours on average to install the service, and that AT&T hopes to make the U-Verse product available to as many as 60% of its customers within the company's 22-state footprint. But the effort has been hampered by software glitches, slow channel changing speeds and, most recently, a service outage last weekend.
AT&T said the outage was caused by a software error that caused customers to lose channels Sunday. "We were able to quickly restore the local channels and most of the national channels. Then over the course of the day Sunday we restored all of the channels," Lindner said on the call.
"It's important to note that it didn't have anything to do with the platform or the scaling of the platform," Lindner said on the call.
AT&T shares rose 73 cents to $41.90 in late morning trading Tuesday.