AT&T gained an array of classic movies and TV shows with its $109 billion acquisition of Time Warner. With the introduction of streaming service HBO Max, the telecom giant is deploying some of that arsenal to fend off competition from rivals Sprint and Verizon.
The impact of the service, which will feature popular shows from "Game of Thrones" to "Oz" and "Sex and the City," will be heightened by AT&T's decision to offer it free to mobile customers with a premium unlimited data plan.
The mobile phone carrier will offer free HBO beginning Nov. 3, with plans to add HBO Max upon its launch in May 2020, a move that counters streaming initiatives from Verizon, T-Mobile and Sprint. An AT&T spokesperson confirmed the plans in an email obtained by mobile news website Fierce Wireless.
“HBO is now our streaming option as part of AT&T Unlimited Elite,” the spokesperson wrote.
Verizon struck an agreement on Oct. 22 with Disney Plus, which launches Nov. 12, that will give its customers access to Marvel Comics films, the "Star Wars" franchise and National Geographic.T-Mobile, meanwhile, began offering Netflix to premium subscribers in 2017, and Sprint made a deal with Hulu last year that gave subscribers access to three of the carrier's premium unlimited plans.
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AT&T has offered HBO on several of the carrier's unlimited wireless plans since shortly after the Time Warner deal was announced, and the HBO Max service will house the network's entire library of movies and original television series, as well as content created specifically for the platform.