AT&T is now offering a free HBO subscription to all its wireless customers on its unlimited plans. Just a few days ago, rival T-Mobile launched a similar plan offering free Netflix with its unlimited data family plans.
Free HBO and more for cheaper unlimited plan
In April, AT&T launched a free HBO offer for subscribers of its premium Unlimited Plus wireless plans. Now the offer is extended to all current and new customers on its speed limited AT&T Unlimited Choice plan as well. The offer will go live starting on September 15.
Users subscribed to the unlimited plans will also get the option to add DirecTV Now’s “Live a Little” package, which will have about 60 live TV channels, including local stations, by paying $10 per month. AT&T made it clear that there will be no change in the pricing of any plan after the addition of free HBO. The bundle is being offered to expand its customer base by bringing in new subscribers and retaining existing ones, notes TechCrunch.
AT&T has not had a good time when it comes to winning customers lately. In the previous quarter, the company added 2.8 million phone subscribers, but lost some 90,000 high value postpaid customers, especially those who subscribed to the company’s unlimited plans, notes AndroidCenral. Now with the expansion of the free HBO offer, the company hopes to win more customers and limit the number of subscribers leaving the network.
AT&T’s upcoming plans
AT&T will also start testing a wireless-to-the-home skinny pay-TV bundle based on DirecTV Now. Plans are expected to be launched sometime in 2018, according to Randall Stephenson, AT&T’s chairman and CEO. The executive said this is how the company is planning to move downmarket into some of the less affluent demographics of the marketplace.
“There’s more to come. After we close the Time Warner deal, it’s going to be very interesting for that end of the market,” Stephenson said at the Goldman Sachs Annual Communacopia Conference, on Tuesday.
Antitrust officials who are already analyzing if the acquisition of Time Warner could reduce competition and increase prices might now be more cautious. However, Stephenson rejects any such possibility, stating that the decision was made largely because pay-TV has now become too expensive. Conventional television is in a downward spiral, and with packages costing $100 or more every month, there is a glaring price issue, especially for young millennials, the executive said.
In addition, Stephenson said that Time Warner will operate as “separate and independent company.” AT&T said that it now has almost all the regulatory approvals needed to acquire Time Warner in a deal worth $85 billion. John Stankey, senior executive vice president of AT&T/Time Warner Merger Integration Planning, stated that the companies are down to the United States and Brazil for the regulatory approval of the deal.
At 11:08 a.m. Eastern, AT&T shares were up 1.08% at $36.13. Year to date, the stock is down more than 15%, while in the last year, it is down more than 11%.