One of the big reasons for the success of DIRECTV is their partnership agreements with telecom providers. For years, DIRECTV has partnered with both Verizon and Qwest communications. Any time a customer calls in for residential land line service, these companies offer them DIRECTV satellite service as well. They expanded their reach in 2009, by signing another agreement with the biggest telecom player, AT&T. Qwest though is involved in a merger with another telecom provider by the name CenturyLink. This smaller, more rurally focused company has been partnering with Dish Network for several years, meaning a decision would have to be made between keeping Dish or adopting DIRECTV.
CenturyLink has decided to drop the Dish Network and start selling DIRECTV service in the areas they serve. Dish Network and CenturyLink had partnered since 2005. According to the company, major factors playing into the decision included features and programming offered by DIRECTV such as the Whole Home DVRand the NFL Sunday Ticketpackage.
The merger of CenturyLink and Qwest which was announced in late 2009 will create a company with 17 million lines and customers in 37 states. The combined company will still be much smaller when compared to large telecoms like AT&T and Verizon. While both Verizon and AT&T have rolled out their own video services in many areas, Qwest has relied on its DIRECTV partnership to pump up revenues. It will be interesting to see if the combined will deploy the Prism TV product along with their CenturyLink internet service to more areas, or whether the company will focus on DIRECTV sales.