Since purchasing DIRECTV, AT&T has been looking at ways to cash in with DIRECTV services and their latest product under the DIRECTV brand is about to launch in a few months. Which is DIRECTV Now. AT&T hasn’t provided much information about it just yet, but it appears to be a streaming service, AT&T’s CEO Randall Stephenson announced today that the service will have over 100 channels. On top of that, the data will be zero-rated so that AT&T’s customers will be able to stream any of these channels on DIRECTV Now without the fear of using their data allotment for the month. This is similar to what Verizon has done with their own Go90 service, as well as NFL Mobile which Verizon has exclusivity on. Unfortunately, AT&T can’t promise the same treatment for customers on other carriers – and that’s because they actually can’t.
Stephenson says that DIRECTV Now will be “rolling out in a couple of months”. He was careful not to give a concrete time-frame as to when it will be available to customers, as these things do tend to change for a variety of reasons. Stephenson stated that they will be hitting a “very, very aggressive price point” with DIRECT Now. And they are likely looking to compete with the likes of Sling TV, which is owned by Dish Network, and is a streaming-only service starting at just $20/month.
Zero-rated data has become a pretty popular topic among wireless carriers. And this is mostly due to the fact that most carriers are no longer offering up unlimited data. T-Mobile actually led the movement here with zero-rated data, in Music Freedom and Binge On. Both of which were met with plenty of questions about Net Neutrality. However, the FCC ultimately said that they are okay with it – largely due to the fact that any provider can be included in Music Freedom and Binge On, and it’s not limited to just services that T-Mobile owns or has a stake in (like Go90 for Verizon). Since then, Verizon has added zero-rated data for Go90, and for NFL Mobile (allowing users to stream full NFL games on their smartphones for free). AT&T already offers it for DIRECTV streaming through the app. So there’s no surprise here that DIRECTV Now will also include zero-rated data. This is great for those that are AT&T customers, however those that aren’t, well they are just out of luck. It’s a way for AT&T to persuade customers to switch to their wireless services as well.