AT&T announces DIRECTV price increases

OK, no one wants to pay more. But if you look at these recently announced increases, they are lower than the rate of inflation in most cases. While we’d all love to take a break from the yearly price increase tango, it’s probably never going to happen

Here it is in a nutshell

  • FAMILY — no increase
  • BASIC CHOICE — $1 a month increase
  • SELECT — $4 a month increase
  • MAS LATINO — $3 a month increase
  • ENTERTAINMENT — $4 a month increase
  • CHOICE — $5 a month
  • TOTAL CHOICE — $5 a month
  • CHOICE XTRA CLASSIC — $7 a month increase
  • TOTAL CHOICE LIMITED — $5 a month increase
  • PREFERRED XTRA, XTRA, ULTIMATE — $7 a month increase
  • PREMIER — $8 a month increase

The information I have says that if you’re on a promotional rate, your rate won’t go up until the end of the promo period, but when it does you’ll be in line with the same rates charged to everyone else.

Some markets will also see an increase in the regional sports fee from $1.50/month to $2/month.

Finally, there’s no indication that AT&T will be raising mirroring charges or receiver fees.

Prices are expected to increase in January, 2020 for most customers.

Come on, that’s not that bad

Yes I get it. It’s a price increase. And DIRECTV satellite TV is pricey, no one disputes that. It’s a premium service for people who want a premium product. You can save a lot of money by putting up an antenna and getting all your live TV for free, but you’re certainly not getting all the channels you get with DIRECTV.

I’ve read a few articles damning AT&T and saying they’re out of touch for raising prices in a shrinking market. Those articles seem to conveniently leave out that DIRECTV is shrinking far less than competitors and a lot lot less than the pay-TV market as a whole.

I think those articles which bash AT&T for having any price increase at all just aren’t looking at the market. In the past few years Netflix has pretty much doubled in price and AT&T/DIRECTV has a ton more content.

Why do price increases happen?

Some of those bashing articles claim AT&T is blaming it all on content providers. But while some articles are being snarky, I’m here to tell you they’re right.

Price increases happen for two reasons, which happen to work together.

First…

every year a lot of carriage contracts come up. The folks who create those channels you watch try to get double or triple the fee they’re being paid now. While AT&T’s lawyers are smart, sometimes they do have to accept an increase in carriage fees. They’re out there fighting to keep prices low, and they do their best. But sometimes AT&T ends up paying more.

Second…

AT&T is a business. It’s beholden to its shareholders, who want profits. If AT&T didn’t pass along cost increases, its profits would shrink. People would sell the stock and the company would suffer. So they do the smart thing. They pass along the bare minimum increase in order to stay profitable.

Look folks I’m not saying AT&T is a victim that you need to feel bad for. I’m saying they’re acting like a smart business and doing what they have to. The company is very careful with keeping costs down where they can, but when costs go up for them, costs go up for you.

About the Author

Stuart Sweet
Stuart Sweet is the editor-in-chief of The Solid Signal Blog and a "master plumber" at Signal Group, LLC. He is the author of over 6,000 articles and longform tutorials including many posted here. Reach him by clicking on "Contact the Editor" at the bottom of this page.