AT&T recently made some changes to its wireless plans. Those changes result in changes to AT&T video subscription eligibility.
AT&T will no longer offer Watch TV with any wireless plan, while only the most premium subscribers will get access to HBO. By association, HBO Max when it launches.
The changes take effect starting November 3.
Two AT&T Unlimited plans become three
Before this announcement, AT&T basically offered two higher-end unlimited wireless plans. The Unlimited &More and Unlimited & More Premium plans.
Starting from November 3, these two plans are being replaced with three new ones. The new plans are Unlimited Starter, Unlimited Extra and Unlimited Elite.
Although November 3 is the confirmed launch date, that's only in terms of Unlimited Starter and Extra. Unlimited Elite currently has no firm launch date.
How does AT&T's new plans affect HBO and WatchTV
Previously, subscribers to either Unlimited &More or the Unlimited & More Premium plans were eligible for both free HBO and WatchTV. The latter is the company's ultra-low cost live TV streaming service. However, the new plans change things considerably.
Essentially, Unlimited Starter is replacing Unlimited & More. While this plan works out cheaper per person ($70 vs $65), the Unlimited &More replacement does not include either HBO or WatchTV.
Technically, the Unlimited Extra plan is a totally new plan and squeezes in between the other two. In spite of costing the same "$40 per line on 4 lines" as Unlimited &More, Unlimited Extra also does not include HBO nor WatchTV.
Of the three new plans, it seems only Unlimited Elite will include HBO. Even the most premium plan doesn't include access to WatchTV.
This is in spite of Unlimited Elite now costing more than the previous premium option, Unlimited & More Premium. That's more at the single-line and four-line levels.
For example, Unlimited & More Premium was billed at $190 per month for four lines. The new Unlimited Elite plan is billed at "$50 per line on 4 lines." In other words, $200 per month on four lines.
AT&T messing with video prices yet again
Based on the information AT&T has provided so far, it looks as though this is yet another example of AT&T messing with video pricing.
HBO and WatchTV each cost $15 per month. This results in a saving of $30 for those wireless customers who make use of both.
Following the introduction of the new plans, Unlimited Starter customers will be paying $5 less per month, but losing out on $30 per month worth of video subscriptions.
Worse still, Unlimited Elite customers will be paying $5 more each month compared to Unlimited &More Premium, and without access to WatchTV.
For anyone thinking of switching to AT&T with the lure of free HBO Max, they will need to make sure they are opting for the most expensive Unlimited Elite plan.
As that's the only plan with HBO included, it's also the only plan that will be upgraded to HBO Max.