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Qwest, DirecTV expand satellite deal

The two companies increase an alliance to bundle DirecTV's service with the telecom provider's own offerings.

Qwest Communications has expanded its alliance with DirecTV to make digital satellite TV services available to customers in the western United States in the first quarter of 2005.

Under the deal, announced Thursday, Qwest will bundle DirecTV's service as part of its lineup of telecom offerings. Qwest will manage billing and collection, scheduling installation, marketing and initial customer service. DirecTV will install receiving gear and provide ongoing customer service.

Telephone companies are teaming up with other service providers to offer consumers communications and entertainment services in one package, in a bid to ward off threats from the cable industry and broadband networks. Recently, BellSouth entered into a similar agreement with DirecTV.

The co-branded service will feature digital TV channels in different genres and access to programming such as NFL Sunday Ticket. Qwest said it will offer discounts on certain combinations of its direct subscriber line and DirecTV services. The companies also plan to market Qwest's DSL services to DirecTV customers.

"Our partnership with DirecTV gives customers one point of contact for all of their programming needs including installation, billing and customer service," Qwest CEO Richard Notebaert said in a statement.