Verizon will offer a free one-year subscription to Walt Disney’s streaming service Disney+ to its unlimited wireless and broadband customers.
Verizon said all its new and existing unlimited wireless customers, as well as its Fios and 5G Home internet customers, will be eligible. Disney+ launches on Nov. 12 in the U.S. The service will cost $7 monthly or $70 annually. A bundle that includes ESPN+ and Hulu will cost $13 a month.
Verizon will become the exclusive wireless carrier to offer 12 months of Disney+ to all new and existing 4G LTE and 5G unlimited wireless customers. Verizon will also offer 12 months of Disney+ to its new Fios Home Internet and 5G Home Internet customers.
At launch, Verizon customers can activate their Disney+ subscription and start streaming on a wide selection of mobile and connected TV devices, including gaming consoles, streaming media players, and smart TVs.
Verizon and Disney are taking a page out of Apple’s playbook by giving away for free a year’s worth of the video service, to quickly build a subscriber base, Reuters reported.
Apple plans to give away a one-year subscription to Apple TV+ for all purchasers of new Macs, iPhones and Apple TV devices. The service is set to launch on Nov. 1.
Analysts estimate Apple could sell as many as 200 million of its latest iPhones to existing users upgrading their old phones.
The Verizon deal gives Disney an advantage in the streaming wars. Companies like Netflix, Amazon, Comcast and AT&T compete for streaming video subscribers.
It was not clear how many Verizon subscribers would get Disney+ for free. The company does not give figures for unlimited phone plan customers.
Analysts at research firm Cowen noted that Verizon reduced the price of its unlimited plans by $5 per month to encourage customer uptake in preparation for 5G.
Less than half of Verizon’s customers are on unlimited plans, Chief Financial Officer Matt Ellis said on the company’s second quarter earnings call.
Verizon had 124 million customers across wireless and Fios internet in the second quarter.
The move by Disney and Verizon puts added pressure on AT&T, which is announcing details of its forthcoming HBO Max streaming service at an investor day presentation on Oct 29. AT&T has not yet released pricing or distribution details for the new service.
Last year, Verizon shut down its go90 advertising-supported streaming video service after a three-year run, after failing to reach younger viewers.