AT&T plans to launch a streaming video service by the end of the year, CEO Randall Stephenson said this week at the Goldman Sachs Communacopia Conference.
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Dubbed "DirecTV Now," it will offer more than 100 channels at a "very, very aggressive price point," Stephenson said. He indicated that the data required to stream it would be "incorporated into the price of the content," suggesting it will be exempt from data caps.
It's likely that such an exemption would apply to a customer's home broadband plan from AT&T in addition to mobile data plans. AT&T, which owns DirecTV, recently announced that its cellular plan customers who are also DirecTV subscribers can now watch streaming TV content without using up their mobile data allotment.
If the data cap exemption extends to mobile viewing, it would follow in the footsteps of services like T-Mobile's Binge On, which allows unlimited audio and video streaming from many different providers. It has been popular with consumers but drawn criticism from net neutrality advocates.
Stephenson did not elaborate on how much the DirecTV streaming service would cost or whether it would be available to people who don't already have a DirectTV subscription. But he said the cost of providing it would be lower than that of traditional TV service, since there's no installation required.
Whether or not DirecTV Now will be a worthy competitor to the likes of Netflix, HBO Now, and Amazon Video depends to a large degree on partnerships with TV and movie studios. Stephenson said that "we've been doing what I would consider some win-win arrangements with the content providers."
A DirecTV spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.