(Reuters) – AT&T Inc is considering offering rates for cordless phones, partially subsidized by advertising, as soon as a year later, CEO John Stankey said in an interview Tuesday.
The previously undisclosed review underscores AT&T’s commitment to the advertising business as the U.S. telephone operator reviews its portfolio to determine which assets should be sold to reduce the debt burden. AT&T is considering selling its advertising division Xandr, sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.
“I believe that there is a segment of our customer base where, if offered a choice, they will take a certain burden on advertising to reduce their mobile phone bill by $ 5 or $ 10,” Stankey said.
Various companies, including Amazon.com Inc, Virgin Mobile USA and Sprint’s Boost Mobile, have been testing ad-supported telephone services since the early 2000s, but have not had time. AT&T hopes that improving advertising targeting can revive the idea.
The planned launch of the advertised version of the AT&T HBO Max streaming video service next year will serve as a “fundamental element” that will provide new inventory and be key to new ad-supported phone plans, Stankey said, without giving details.
Stenki said telephone plans with advertising support could be introduced in a year or two.
AT&T engineers create “unified customer IDs,” Stenki said. This technology will allow marketers to identify users on multiple devices and serve them with appropriate advertising.
The ability to fine-tune ad targeting will allow AT&T to sell ads at higher prices, he said.
AT&T has invested in developing targeted advertising on its own media properties, using data from its customers’ phones, TVs and the Internet, but the company is “slowing down the curve” in expanding its market, allowing advertisers to use AT&T’s data to target other media companies.
In March, AT&T Xandr entered into an agreement with partner Walt Disney Co and AMC Networks to allow advertisers to purchase TV commercials online.
The AT&T advertising market, which includes data outside of AT&T, may face privacy concerns as consumers express growing concern about tracking their media use on various platforms, and laws such as the California Consumer Privacy Act have been passed.
“I don’t know if we can count on it all the time,” Stanki said, referring to the use of non-AT&T data.
Stanki, who co-authored Politico last week, said the U.S. government should provide subsidies to encourage companies to build broadband networks in underserved areas, Reuters said in an interview that AT&T believes it can double its fiber footprint. if an economic incentive.
Fiber or fiber optics are thin cables, often installed underground, that allow companies to provide Internet services at home. AT&T uses fiber to deliver the Internet to home and business, as well as to power the 5G network.
AT&T fiber now passes through 18 million homes in the United States. The company could increase that number by 3 million to 5 million homes a year, he added.
Report by Sheila Dang in Dallas; Helen Koster, Crystal Hu and Kenneth Lee in New York; Edited by Cynthia Osterman