The Number 2 wireless carrier AT&T will be releasing two new unlimited wireless plans bundled with a new streaming service called WatchTV, after closing the $85 billion acquisition of Time Warner Inc. This marks the company’s initial push to package phone service and entertainment into one, making use of Time Warner’s stable cable content consisting of TV channels like TBS and CNN to push sales during a time when carriers are struggling to compete with cheaper alternative streaming options.
WatchTV, which costs $15 a month on its own, will be free for customers with the new wireless plan, and it will be providing over 30 live channels without sports or local news channels. The higher-priced wireless plan will provide HBO for free, a premium TV channel with popular shows “Game of Thrones” and “Silicon Valley”.
The US Department of Justice sued to stop the merger initially citing that it would give AT&T an unfair advantage over other pay-TV providers, but a federal judge approved of the merger of AT&T and Time Warner earlier this month giving it a victory after a string of losses.
The company was losing linear TV subscribers when viewers were dropping satellite TV packages for alternative favorable streaming options with Netflix currently at an all-time high. AT&T lost 187,000 linear video subscribers in the first quarter and lost 22,000 wireless customers that paid monthly bills. It lost 348,000 monthly-paying customers during the year prior, forcing AT&T to find a new way to grow its business.
WatchTV will also include AMC, HGTV and TNT for viewers who want a smaller cable package against its competition in Dish Network’s Sling TV and Philo.