Tuesday, September 12, 2017

AT&T Moves to Negate T-Mobile's Netflix Differentiation w/ open HBO

In its Un-carrier X, Netflix on Us, T-Mobile needled AT&T.  They cited  in their conference call that AT&T Unlimited Plus customers were the only ones who received HBO for free or one had to buy it throw the over the top DirecTV Now service.  This obviously brought up the disparity in how AT&T treats their unlimited customers.

AT&T Unlimited Choice users are probably more price sensitive as there is a $30 price gap in a single line vs. the Plus variety. Moreover, video is SD vs. HD (Stream Saver) and downlink throughput is capped at 3 Mbps, slower than Cricket's 8 Mbps (don't get me started on this).  Now AT&T has chosen and (to me) in a reactive fashion to Netflix on Us now allows Choice users to get freebie HBO channel streaming (Game of Thrones season is over, right?). Another silver lining to those Choice users who may have DirecTV or DirecTV Now is that they save the HBO monthly fee ($5?).

Clearly, comparing HBO to Netflix is not an apples-to-apples comparison as there is a greater content library behind Netflix. Still, it reduces and blunts any marketing messaging that T-Mobile may have in the works at retail.  Will HBO necessarily stop the T-Mobile customer acquisition train?  That is unlikely but it is a reactive anti-churn move that AT&T had to eventually implement as Q4 selling starts.