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AT&T’s U-verse Tries to Lure Subscribers By Warning of Comcast-TWC Merger

Getting in a dig at competitors Comcast and Time Warner Cable and their impending merger, AT&T’s U-verse has sent postcard mailers to prospective customers by warning that “the two cable companies with some of the poorest overall customer satisfaction scores have announced they are merging.”

The mailer makes no mention of AT&T’s own plans to merger with DirecTV, but the message is pretty clear: Two companies that rank at the bottom of a consumer survey won’t make for one bigger, better company.

The source of the AT&T mailer — headlined “The facts are on your side. You have a choice.” — is the American Customer Satisfaction Index for the Subscription TV and Internet Service Industries.

An AT&T spokesman said that the mailer was “one way of informing customers they have a choice of TV providers, and when it comes to customer satisfaction, U-verse is a better choice.”

The most recent Customer Satisfaction Index report, released on May 20, showed Time Warner Cable with the worst score among pay-TV providers, with Comcast tied with Charter Communications with the second-worst score. DirecTV topped the list in satisfaction, followed by U-verse, but customer satisfaction with subscription TV overall has been falling. In fact, according to the report, pay-TV is “among the least satisfying industries measured” by the index. Only Internet service scores lower; fixed phone line and electric service do better.

Comcast CEO Brain Roberts last week was asked at the Re/Code  conference about being labeled “the most hated company in America.”

“We don’t wake up every day and go to work and say ‘We want to be hated.’… There’s a reason the cable box was a real liberator 30 years ago and is a tremendous retarder of innovation today,” adding that the company’s innovations will change the equation.

“We got to improve every year, and I think we will, or we won’t be here,” he said.

The question is whether Comcast-TWC will have their own way of needling AT&T-DirecTV over their merger plans. A Comcast spokeswoman did not immediately return a request for comment.

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