AT&T will launch two new limitless wi-fi plans subsequent week that shall be bundled with a brand new video streaming service referred to as WatchTV, within the firm’s first transfer to pair leisure with cellphone service after closing its $85 billion acquisition of media firm Time Warner.
The No. 2 US wi-fi service is placing to make use of Time Warner’s secure of content material, together with TV channels like TBS and CNN, to drive gross sales of the wi-fi plans at a time when carriers have struggled to search out development.
“This is step one to remodeling how content material is created, distributed and consumed,” David Christopher, president of AT&T mobility and leisure, mentioned in an interview.
WatchTV, which can have over 30 dwell channels however no sports activities or native information channels, shall be free for patrons of the brand new wi-fi plans. It’s going to price $15 monthly as a standalone product. Clients who join the higher-priced wi-fi plan also can get HBO without spending a dime, the premium TV channel with the hit present “Recreation of Thrones” that AT&T acquired as a part of the Time Warner deal.
A federal decide earlier this month authorised the merger of AT&T and Time Warner, handing AT&T a win after the Division of Justice sued to cease the deal, saying a merger would give AT&T unfair leverage over rival pay-TV suppliers.
AT&T, like different pay-TV suppliers, has been shedding linear TV subscribers as viewers “reduce the wire” on satellite tv for pc TV packages in favor of cheaper streaming choices. Within the first quarter, AT&T shed 187,000 linear video subscribers.
The corporate additionally misplaced 22,000 wi-fi prospects who pay a month-to-month invoice in the course of the first quarter, and whereas it was an enchancment from the 348,000 prospects it misplaced the earlier yr, continued losses have pressured AT&T to search out methods to develop the precious wi-fi enterprise.
WatchTV as a standalone product will compete with different low-cost video streaming choices, together with Dish Community’s Sling TV, which prices $20 for the bottom bundle, and Philo, which prices $16.