AT&T waives mobile customer data fees on HBO Max - Mobile World Live

AT&T waives mobile customer data fees on HBO Max

02 JUN 2020

AT&T defended a decision to include its new HBO Max video streaming service in a controversial zero-rating programme, allowing its mobile customers to view content without incurring data charges.

An operator representative told Mobile World Live HBO Max is being offered as part of its Sponsored Data programme, a move it said will “save money for millions of consumers”. The streaming service launched on 27 May.

In 2017, the Federal Communications Commission derided AT&T’s zero-rating programme and others like it for allegedly favouring operator-owned services.

However, net neutrality protections against blocking, throttling and paid prioritisation were repealed in December 2017, leaving no legal impediment for future offers.

The AT&T representative defended the Sponsored Data scheme, noting it offers the same terms to any company which wants to “sponsor data for their customers”.

“We continue to support an open internet and have done so for more than a decade.”

On its Q4 2019 earnings call, AT&T executives outlined plans to use HBO Max as a tool to drive tariff upgrades and higher revenue in its mobile division.

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Diana Goovaerts

Diana is Mobile World Live's US Editor, reporting on infrastructure and spectrum rollouts, regulatory issues, and other carrier news from the US market. Diana came to GSMA from her former role as Editor of Wireless Week and CED Magazine, digital-only...

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