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DirecTV sale to AT&T could pass savings on to customer

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Two communication giants will combine soon — but will customers benefit?

AT&T announced its plan to buy DirecTV Sunday. The $48.5 billion deal is pending shareholder and regulatory approval.

If the sale goes through, customers could see more bundling opportunities. In many cases, bundling takes $5 to $10 off a monthly bill.

Only about a third of DirecTV customers also use AT&T. The rest of those DirecTV customers could get special offers if they switch to AT&T, said Kirk Parsons, senior director of telecom services at J.D. Power & Associates.

“DirecTV’s big doughnut hole has been not having broadband plans,” he said. “This could be a good thing for their customers.”

But even with the benefits of bundling, most consumers still get phone, Internet and TV service from different companies with different strengths.

“It’s always a choice of getting the best quality for each line of service,” said Sam Rosen of ABI Research.

Both AT&T and DirecTV committed to offering three years of “guaranteed prices” in a conference call Monday.

But even with bundling benefits and incentives for changing providers, the DirecTV sale could be mean price hikes in the long run, according to an analyst at Frost & Sullivan.