Telecommunications provider AT&T has quietly dropped HBO Max as a perk for new AT&T customers on its top-tier unlimited wireless plan. AT&T Unlimited Premium. The company launched a new plan this week that replaced Unlimited Elite. AT&T confirmed that the new plan does not include streaming, but did not provide a detailed explanation for its decision.
“HBO Max is a great service, but we’re constantly experimenting with the features we offer our customers to deliver the greatest value,” AT&T spokesman Jim Greer told TechCrunch.
Combining HBO Max with AT&T’s wireless plans helped win customers and persuade existing subscribers to upgrade to a more expensive plan. Now that Warner Bros. mega merger discovery closed, AT&T no longer owns HBO Max, so it has no incentive to continue providing consumers with that privilege. With the move this week, AT&T no longer has a video streaming partner for its core wireless service.
It’s important to note that existing customers who already have an Unlimited Elite plan will continue to receive HBO Max at no additional charge. In addition, AT&T Cricket Wireless brand, the company’s prepaid carrier, still offers an ad-supported version of HBO Max included with its $60/month unlimited plan.
Previously, the AT&T Unlimited Elite wireless plan offered HBO Max at no additional charge. While AT&T Unlimited Premium won’t offer free HBO Max, the plan will include 50 gigabytes (up from 40 GB per month) of high-speed hotspot data and starts at $50 per month per line when you get four lines.
Prior to the launch of the streaming service HBO Max, the carrier provided HBO for free in some of its unlimited plans starting in 2017.
WarnerMedia cut AT&T’s overall profits and reported that 1 sq. 2022WarnerMedia’s operating income was $1.3 billion, down 32.7% from last year. AT&T said the decline was largely the result of increased “investment made in launching CNN+ and expanding new territories at HBO Max”. CNN+ shut down a month after launch..
As of the end of March, HBO Max and HBO had 76.8 million subscribers worldwide, representing 3 million in net revenue for the quarter.
AT&T’s competitors, T-Mobile and Verizon, have also been pursuing a streaming pooling strategy. Since 2017, T-Mobile has been offering free Netflix subscriptions (“Netflix about us”) with some of its offerings, and is now also offering a free year of Paramount+ Essentials and Apple TV+ on several of its plans.
Verizon offers a Disney package. (Disney+, ESPN+ and Hulu) at no extra charge with some of the more expensive unlimited plans. It previously offered a free year of Discovery+.
In early March, Verizon announced +Play, a content and entertainment hub that allows Verizon customers to manage subscriptions to entertainment, music, games, and more on a single platform. In April the company announced that HBO Max will be a partner in this service. The full launch of +Play will take place later this year.
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