As far as 4G LTE goes, Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ) is the top U.S carrier. It has managed to follow through on a momentous rollout in more than 500 markets and is only rivaled by AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T), though still remotely (for now). In view of this, AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) is working around the clock to bridge the evident gap between itself and Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ). As of this writing, it is ahead of schedule in its 4G rollout program and has actually completed 68 of the 78 markets that it had targeted for this summer.
But as AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) struggles to claw back, Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ) is already starting to see the benefits of its expansive 4G rollout. Apparently, video and cable TV streaming to mobile devices is taking center stage among cable TV firms and other content providers. Despite the huge prospects in this business, the biggest hurdle has been getting fast connectivity. This seemingly impassable hurdle has however been trampled upon by the super fast 4G network. For this reason, top cable TV firms have signed off on working with Verizon. They hope to leverage Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ)’s expansive 4G network to extend higher quality services to a broader client base.
Verizon gets cable TV deal, AT&T pushes for Hulu
Early this month, regulators gave the green light to a joint venture between Verizon Wireless and top cable firms Time Warner Cable, Cox Communications, Comcast and Bright House Networks. Speculation is rife that there will be a wide range of products relating to the joint venture in the fourth quarter as signaled by Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ) CEO, Daniel Mead, who in a May conference with Jefferies said: ‘We look at the fourth quarter as a very important time for us in the marketplace. We have a very active pipeline.’
Unless you are living under a rock, you know by now that AT&T is among the three heavyweights that have been confirmed to be in the race for Hulu. Joined by KKR and DirecTV, AT&T is seeking to take control of Hulu, which grossed revenues of $700 million in 2012. Hopefully, if it outbids the rest and inks a deal, it will adapt Hulu’s model of selling ads on its free service or alternatively, design an entirely different revenue collection model.
Only time can tell whether AT&T will put pen on paper and ink a deal with Hulu. However, what remains clear for now is that AT&T is looking for ways to step up its video streaming product portfolio, which incidentally is doing well – well enough to scare big cable firms to side with Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ).
AT&T video streaming business doing good, but Verizon has the ultimate edge
As far as AT&T’s video streaming services go, it is doing relatively well. However as of now, debating the possible direction of the Hulu deal would be shooting in the dark.
Even if AT&T managed to pull Hulu under its wing, there are some great risks. The fact that it will influence, in part, the content that end users will get will mean that it will bear the brunt of discontent among consumers. This carries great risk as it puts its reputation and brand right in the midst of open fire.