AT&T Baits Pay-TV Hooks With Unlimited Mobile Data
Jan 12, 2016 12:34 PM PT
AT&T on Tuesday began offering unlimited mobile data to its pay TV customers.
New or existing DirecTV and U-Verse TV subscribers can get unlimited talk, text and data for US$100 per month. AT&T will charge $40 for two additional phones, and a fourth phone will be free.
Subscribers can add smartwatches and certain connected devices to their unlimited plans for $10 per device. They can add feature phones for $25 per device. Tablets are eligible for inclusion for $40 or $10 for 1 GB per month.
AT&T also will trim $10 off bills when consumers combine their DirecTV or U-Verse bills with their wireless statements.
"We've got the content consumers want, we're delivering it to the devices they want, and we're making it as easy as ever for them to consume as much as they want," said Ralph de la Vega, CEO of AT&T mobile and business solutions. "And they will get a high-quality video streaming experience from the start."
Competition Heats Up
AT&T's latest move appears to be, in large part, a response to T-Mobile's Binge On campaign, which offers unbounded streaming for select video and music services, noted Derek Kerton, principal analyst at the Kerton Group and chairman of the Telecom Council of Silicon Valley.
There's a "very high" chance AT&T's latest move will influence the rest of the industry to respond, he told the E-Commerce Times.
Its offer is even more clever than Binge On, because consumers who cut the cord often rely more on wireless data, Kerton said. Those who turn to mobile data for all their Internet needs eventually are labeled "data hogs" by the wireless carriers.
"AT&T's offer ensures that customers who get unlimited data also have a paid TV subscription and thus will watch much of their content on a home TV, not the mobile phone," he said. "Also, many of the new unlimited customers will have U-Verse DSL as well. That means they'll be on WiFi at home when they stream video to their phone."
The deal is just the beginning of integrated video and mobile offers from the company this year, it said.
AT&T already has proved its effectiveness in getting people to shift from legacy plans, noted Andrew Dailey, manager director at MGI Research.
Verizon has shown that it is willing to deal free data to maintain its top spot in the U.S. market, so the competition won't cool off from here, he told the E-Commerce Times.
"At the end of the day, a lot of what these guys offer is commodity," Dailey said. "And when you have a commodity, it ends up being a battle based on price versus other values delivered.
Holding on to Customers
While AT&T's offer may keep potential cord cutters from walking away, it might not do enough for the people who have long since sworn off cable. That group isn't eligible for this offer, Kerton pointed out.
"This offer is more likely to tip some customers toward an AT&T TV subscription versus a competing cable or Dish TV offer," he said. "In the end, this offer is more about competing in the cable TV sector than the mobile phone sector."