AT&T is ramping up its efforts to get customers to also sign up for its DirecTV or U-Verse TV programming subscription services by offering them unlimited data on their AT&T mobile phone accounts so they can watch videos or TV shows anywhere.
The new AT&T Unlimited Plan was unveiled by the company on Jan.11, starting at $100 monthly for the first smartphone, $40 each monthly for the next two smartphones on an account, and no charge for monthly service on a fourth smartphone, for a total of $180 per month for four family members.
Tablets can be added for $40 per month with unlimited data or for $10 a month for 1GB of data, while smartwatches can be added for $10 a month.
The unlimited data plans, which will be available starting Jan. 12, also include unlimited talk and texting. AT&T customers who sign up for a DirecTV or U-Verse account and combine their bills in one also save an additional $10 per month, according to AT&T.
Customers of other mobile phone carriers are eligible for $500 in credits per line if they also have a new or existing DirecTV or U-Verse TV account and switch to AT&T and a new Unlimited Plan when they buy a new phone and turn in an eligible trade-in, according to the company. Existing AT&T wireless customers who are not current DirecTV subscribers can add a TV package beginning at $19.99 per month for 12 months, with a 24-month contract. Sign-ups for the new offering are available for a limited time. The offer is not available to business customers.
"Our new unlimited plan is our best offer yet," Ralph de la Vega, CEO of AT&T mobile and business solutions, said in a statement. "It's the perfect reward for our valued customers who like to take advantage of our integrated offers of TV and wireless services. Video traffic continues to grow on our network as fast as ever because people enjoy viewing their favorite video content on their favorite devices."
AT&T said it will continue to offer similar combination deals to its customers throughout the year, as well as a wide range of other new video entertainment options for subscribers.
AT&T acquired DirecTV for $48.5 billion in July 2015 after pursuing the merger since May 2014, according to an earlier eWEEK story. In August 2015, AT&T began offering $500 in credits per line to DirecTV customers who transferred their mobile services over to AT&T from a competing carrier.
AT&T's move to offer enhanced deals to bring over DirecTV customers to grow its own subscriber base was part of the company's vision for making the acquisition in the first place.
The merger turned AT&T into a bigger player with its hands in more markets and a ready pool of new prospects to bring into its business coffers.
The DirecTV acquisition was approved last July after a review by the Federal Communications Commission under several conditions, including that AT&T expand its deployment of high-speed, fiber-optic broadband Internet access service to 12.5 million customer locations, as well as provide lower rates for services to schools and libraries, according to an earlier eWEEK report.
AT&T and its DirecTV unit are also prohibited from using discriminatory practices to harm online video distribution services and must submit so-called Internet interconnection agreements to the FCC for review under the approval. Finally, the company will also be required to offer discounted broadband services to low-income consumers under the terms of the FCC's approval. The conditions for the deal are in effect for four years.