Beginning in the first quarter of 2005, Qwest will market and provide front-line customer support for the DIRECTVservice and incorporate it as part of its full suite of bundled communications services. As a result, customers will benefit from the convenience of one point of contact for service and a single bill for all their telecommunications and television services.
“Today’s announcement illustrates our strong commitment to provide the broad array of communications and entertainment services customers have said they want and use the most,” said Richard C. Notebaert, Qwest chairman and CEO. “Our partnership with DIRECTV gives customers one point of contact for all of their programming needs, including installation, billing and customer service.”
“By offering DIRECTV programming as a core product in Qwest’s suite of residential services, Qwest and DIRECTV will provide a simple, yet compelling solution for customers who want the value and convenience of ordering the best voice, video and data services through one provider,” said Mitch Stern, president and CEO, DIRECTV, Inc. “With Qwest providing another avenue of distribution for DIRECTV in the marketplace, more consumers will see there is a superior alternative to their local cable provider.”
The co-branded service bundle will include:
— Multi-channel Video Services: All channels are delivered in 100 percent digital-quality signals and premier programming, including news, movies, sports, commercial-free audio music channels, access to exclusive programming like the NFL SUNDAY TICKET and a host of other programming selections. In addition, DIRECTV, for the third consecutive year, received the highest score for customer satisfaction among satellite and cable TV companies rated by the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI).
— Bundling Flexibility: Qwest customers will enjoy better value and convenience in designing their personal communications service portfolio. For example, Qwest will offer bundled discounts on certain combinations of Qwest DSL(R) and DIRECTV services.
— One Primary Point of Contact: Qwest will manage customer-facing elements, including billing and collection, scheduling installation, marketing and initial point of contact for customer service. DIRECTV will install receiving equipment and provide ongoing customer service.
— Co-branding: The bundled service offering will be co-branded, with Qwest having responsibility for marketing, account management and billing-related inquiries.
“Customers have many communications options today, so it’s important for telecommunications providers to be able to offer customers a complete package of services, including video programming,” said Yankee Group analyst Aditya Kishore. “By partnering with DIRECTV, Qwest will provide the convenience of a one-stop shop for consumer communication and entertainment services. The decision to integrate billing and customer care by early next year is particularly significant, since simplicity is a key attraction of the bundle.”
As part of the agreement, DIRECTV and Qwest are developing a plan to market Qwest’s DSL services to existing DIRECTV customers. Qwest and DIRECTV also have a separate agreement in which Qwest provides DIRECTV service to apartments and other multiple dwelling units.
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