After a district judge approved the $85 billion merger between AT&T and Time Warner, we knew AT&T would be quick to reap the rewards of capturing Time Warner's media properties. Today, we get our first look at this with two cellular plans from AT&T. What makes these plans unique is they include a new cord-cutting service called WatchTV.
WatchTV is leveraging the many channels acquired from the Time Warner merger to create a new live television streaming app. The 31-channel service is basically a slimmer version of AT&T's other streaming cable app, DirecTV Now, with about 30% of the channels being Time Warner properties. The service will available on mobile devices, browsers, and "certain streaming devices." It will also have over 15,000 on demand programs.
What makes this service so interesting is that, in addition to being bundled with two cellular service plans, AT&T also announced that WatchTV would launch as a standalone service. While the channel selection is slim, with its $15 price tag, cord-cutting has now become accessible to millions.
WatchTV is launching the week of June 25th with 31 channels. Notable omissions from the lineup are local channels, ESPN, or any other sports channels. The service will live alongside AT&T's other streaming service, DirecTV Now, which launched in late 2016. As described by AT&T, WatchTV is a "no-frills, 'skinnier' streaming option" compared to DirecTV Now.
Currently, streaming is limited to one device only, and there is no DVR option at this time. It will also not support several platforms, including Amazon Fire TV, Xbox, Tizen, Microsoft Edge, Opera, and Redemption.
Besides paying for it separately, AT&T also includes WatchTV for free in two new unlimited plans — AT&T Unlimited & More Premium and AT&T Unlimited & More. The former is an upgraded version of their current AT&T Unlimited Plus Enhanced plan (which it will likely replace, but not confirmed), costing $80 a month for a single line (after autopay and paperless bill credit) or $190 for four lines.
With this service, you can get WatchTV, up to 1080p streaming, 15 GB for tethering, and $15 a month credit toward DirecTV, DirecTV Now, and U-verse TV. Additionally, you can add one premium service, including HBO, Cinemax, SHOWTIME, STARZ, Amazon Music Unlimited, Pandora Premium, and VRV.
The latter service, AT&T Unlimited & More, is $10 less expensive for a single line, and $70 cheaper for a family of four. It loses the features of the more expensive option, except for $15 a month credit which is limited to only DirecTV Now. This plan will likely replace the AT&T Unlimited Choice Enhanced plan and include a 480p limit on video streaming. This limit will also extend to WatchTV, with only the premium version offering a 1080p resolution for live television.
Both services offer unlimited data, with the cheaper plan limiting internet speeds to 3 Mbps and video streaming to 1.5Mbps. The Premium plan offers full LTE speed, but switches to data prioritization after 22 GB. Both plans include unlimited talk and text.
With AT&T's new plans, cord-cutting just got cheaper. For those looking for a wireless plan, you can now get unlimited data, talk, and text and free live television at a price lower than most cable bills. And for those who already have a wireless plan, AT&T is taking care of you with access to this new streaming service at an unprecedented $15 a month.
It appears AT&T is preparing for the cord-cutting future, establishing platforms now to lead the charge. What do you think about AT&T's new service? Are you in the market for a new unlimited plan? Let us know in the comments below.
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