AT&T is sweetening the pot to entice more mobile customers to opt for its unlimited data plan. The carrier said on Wednesday that subscribers to its mobile unlimited plan would also get a free subscription to premium network HBO.
The offer, which starts April 6, applies to mobile subscribers even if they don’t subscribe to AT&T’s two pay TV services, U-Verse and DirecTV. Mobile-only customers will get free HBO access via the HBO Go app, AT&T said. U-verse and DirecTV subscribers can have the channel added to their video plans.
The offer is the second video-related enticement for its new unlimited plan, which starts at $90 for the first line and goes up to $185 for four lines. The carrier already offers a $25 discount to its pay TV services or DirecTV Now online video service to all mobile unlimited plan customers.
The offer also heightens the ongoing war in wireless to attract customers to switch carriers as growth in the total market slows to a crawl. T-Mobile accounted for nearly all of the subscriber growth in wireless over the past few years, and the other carriers are cutting prices and adding promotional offers to catch up. Analysts say the fierce competition, which has been a boon for customers, is starting to cut into profits in the sector.
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Currently, AT&T pays licensing fees for HBO, but that could soon change. The carrier is seeking to acquire HBO’s parent, Time Warner (TWX), for $109 billion including debt. The deal has yet to approved by regulators, however. The bundling deal also helps HBO attract more customers for its premium content in the meantime.
AT&T (T) was the last of the major carriers to get into the unlimited data plan battle, even though it was among the first to revive the format that does away with monthly data allowances. Last January, AT&T offered a relatively expensive unlimited plan, but only to customers of its pay TV services. In August, T-Mobile (TMUS) and Sprint (S) introduced cut-rate unlimited plans, though with reduced quality video streaming.
Then in February, Verizon (VZ) jumped into the fray with an unlimited plan that included high-definition quality video streaming. AT&T soon opened its unlimited plan to any customer while Sprint and T-Mobile added HD video.