AT&T to offer free WatchTV video with new wireless plans

Telecom operator AT&T today announced the launch of two new unlimited wireless plans that will be bundled with a free video streaming service called WatchTV.
AT&T campaign
The mobile service provider did not give any indication on the price of the new unlimited wireless plans. Verizon, T-Mobile and Sprint are yet to respond to the latest development in the US wireless market.

AT&T, the leading mobile operator in the US, is leveraging the company’s $85 billion deal to buy media company Time Warner to pair video with mobile data plans on its nationwide 4G LTE network.

The No. 2 U.S. wireless carrier is putting to use Time Warner’s stable of content, including TV channels like TBS and CNN, to drive sales of the wireless plans at a time when carriers have struggled to find growth.

WatchTV, which will have over 30 live channels but no sports or local news channels, will be free for customers of the new wireless plans. It will cost $15 per month as a standalone product. Customers who sign up for the higher-priced wireless plan can also get HBO for free.

A federal judge recently approved the merger of AT&T and Time Warner, handing AT&T a win after the U.S. Department of Justice sued to stop the deal, saying a merger would give AT&T unfair leverage over rival pay-TV providers.

AT&T, like other pay-TV providers, has been losing linear TV subscribers as viewers “cut the cord” on satellite TV packages in favor of cheaper streaming options. In the first quarter, AT&T shed 187,000 linear video subscribers.

The company also lost 22,000 wireless customers who pay a monthly bill during the first quarter, and while it was an improvement from the 348,000 customers it lost the previous year, continued losses have pressured AT&T to find ways to grow the valuable wireless business.

WatchTV as a standalone product will compete with other low-cost video streaming options, including Dish Network’s Sling TV, which costs $20 for the base package, and Philo, which costs $16.

WatchTV’s channel lineup, which includes AMC, HGTV and TNT, could appeal to viewers who do not have a large cable package or are looking to further trim the cord, said David Christopher, president, AT&T Mobility and Entertainment.