T-Mobile Offers Free Netflix to Lure New Customers -- Update

By Drew FitzGerald Features Dow Jones Newswires

T-Mobile US Inc. said Wednesday it will offer family-plan subscribers free access to Netflix Inc.'s streaming-video service, the carrier's latest bid to lure wireless customers away from its larger rivals.

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The offer is available to new and existing subscribers on T-Mobile plans with at least two lines, which cost $120 a month. Netflix's standard plans, which allow customers to stream video to two screens, start at $10 a month.

T-Mobile executives said the offer wouldn't stress their network because the carrier already supports unlimited streaming-video usage at standard resolutions. The company has said customers tend not to notice a difference between standard-definition and high-definition pictures on phone and tablet screens.

Netflix is the most-used pay-video service on T-Mobile's network in terms of data volume, the carrier said, behind Alphabet Inc.'s YouTube. The offer unveiled Wednesday would give qualifying customers a full Netflix account for phones and televisions alike.

T-Mobile didn't detail the terms of the Netflix deal but said it was structured to set the company apart from offerings from wireless competitors AT&T Inc. and Verizon Communications Inc.

AT&T, for instance, began offering free HBO to customers on some of its premium wireless plans earlier this year. AT&T is awaiting government approval for an $85 billion takeover of HBO owner Time Warner Inc.

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T-Mobile Chief Executive John Legere said the new offer wasn't designed to entice people to spend more for service, though the company has spent the past two years nudging customers toward its profitable family plans.

T-Mobile Finance Chief Braxton Carter said the exclusive U.S. arrangement wouldn't alter the company's financial guidance.

The Bellevue, Wash., company is the No. 3 U.S. carrier by subscribers, with about 70 million.

Write to Drew FitzGerald at andrew.fitzgerald@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

September 06, 2017 15:30 ET (19:30 GMT)