With a federal court win approving a merger with Time Warner under its belt, AT&T is passing on a new digital streaming offering to its wireless customers. But it's also raising the price of its entry level unlimited data plan.
The newly unveiled WatchTV service will now be included as part of AT&T's renamed unlimited data plans — the entry level Unlimited & More plan and the more expensive Unlimited & More Premium offering, which includes additional perks. The new plans launch next week.
WatchTV is what's known as a skinny bundle, stripping out the local networks and sports channels for more entertainment-focused options. AT&T is including 30-plus channels in WatchTV, such as AMC, Cartoon Network, CNN, HGTV, IFC, TBS, TCM and TNT. The carrier plans to add other channels including BET, Comedy Central and VH1 after WatchTV launches.
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WatchTV will also be available as a $15-a-month standalone service, AT&T says, though additional details weren't available as this article was published.
In addition to WatchTV, Unlimited & More Premium subscribers will be able to add one premium service for free. Choices include entertainment services like HBO, Cinemax, Showtime and Starz; music streaming services Amazon Music Unlimited and Pandora Premium; and anime and gaming video service VRV. That's a bit of a departure from AT&T's current unlimited plans, which included free HBO; under the new plans, HBO will be limited to the more expensive unlimited data tier and only one of many options that subscribers can pick.
Other perks for the Unlimited & More Premium plan include 15GB of hotspot data and HD video streaming. Video streaming on Unlimited & More is restricted to 480p.
|AT&T Plan||Monthly Cost, 1 Line||Monthly Cost, 4 Lines ||WatchTV Included?||LTE Hotspot Data||Additional Discounts||Other Perks|
|Unlimited & More||$70||$160||Yes||No||$15 credit for DirecTV Now||None|
|Unlimited & More Premium||$80||$190||Yes||15GB||$15 credit for DirecTV, DirecTV Now or U-Verse||Includes HD video streaming, choice of one additional premium streaming service|
In addition to WatchTV, AT&T will offer other video services to its wireless customers. The Unlimited & More Premium plan includes a $15 monthly credit toward AT&T's DirecTV, DirecTV Now and U-Verse TV services. Unlimited & More subscribers can only apply their $15 credit to the DirecTV Now streaming option.
The new plans also introduce a new entry-level price. A single line of Unlimited & More costs $70. The Unlimited Choice Enhanced plan it replaces cost $65 a month. However, the price of four lines of this plan will remain at $160 a month.
Unlimited & More Premium costs $80 a month, with four lines available for $190. That's the same price as the Unlimited Plus Enhanced plan it replaces. Existing unlimited customers will have to switch to the new plans to get WatchTV; otherwise they can continue with their current Unlimited Choice and Plus plans.
AT&T says its new plans will be the first of new offers that leverage its new entertainment holdings. That's potentially good news for wireless customers, who are still going to have to keep an eye out for shifting prices and perks in these new promotions.