AT&T to launch wi-fi plans bundled with video after Time Warner win

(Reuters) – AT&T Inc (T.N) will launch two new limitless wi-fi plans subsequent week that can 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 Inc.

FILE PHOTO – An AT&T emblem is seen at a AT&T constructing in New York Metropolis, October 23, 2016. REUTERS/Stephanie Keith/File Picture

The No. 2 U.S. wi-fi provider 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 progress.

“This is step one to reworking how content material is created, distributed and consumed,” David Christopher, president of AT&T mobility and leisure, stated in an interview.

WatchTV, which can have over 30 reside channels however no sports activities or native information channels, can be free for purchasers of the brand new wi-fi plans. It’ll value $15 per thirty days as a standalone product. Clients who join the higher-priced wi-fi plan can even get HBO free of charge, 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 accredited the merger of AT&T and Time Warner, handing AT&T a win after the U.S. 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 twine” 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 throughout 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 (DISH.O) Sling TV, which prices $20 for the bottom package deal, and Philo, which prices $16.

WatchTV’s channel lineup, which incorporates AMC, HGTV and TNT, may enchantment to viewers who wouldn’t have a big cable package deal or need to additional “trim the twine,” Christopher stated.

Reporting by Sheila Dang; Modifying by Leslie Adler

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