Unlimited data is like gold for a growing number of consumers, for both smartphones and their home-based devices, to watch an increasing vast array of streaming services from Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, HBO and others.
Now AT&T is hoping to tap into this demand by reviving unlimited wireless data plans for the first time in five years. It is has just announced its new “AT&T Unlimited Plan” that applies to homes with both AT&T’s wireless phone service and either DirecTV or U-Verse TV.
The plan aims to fuel more television programming watching on cell phones and tablets. Subscribers can take their TV with them wherever they go — and not worry about data overages or Wi-Fi availability, as the new pitch goes.
AT&T completed its acquisition of DirecTV, the satellite TV provider, in July. It still operates an AT&T branded bundle of channels called U-Verse as well.
Here is AT&T offer: If you are a new or existing DIRECTV or U-Verse TV subscriber, but not an AT&T wireless subscriber, for a limited time you can receive $500 in credits when you switch to the AT&T Unlimited Plan with an eligible trade-in, and buy a smartphone on AT&T Next.
Meanwhile, if you are an AT&T wireless customer, but not a DIRECTV subscriber, you can add a TV package beginning at $19.99 per month for 12 months, with a 24 month agreement.
“Video traffic continues to grow on our network as fast as ever because people enjoy viewing their favorite video content on their favorite devices,” said Ralph de la Vega, CEO of AT&T Mobile and Business Solutions.
AT&T’s revival of an unlimited data plan, which ended in 2010, resembles a $180, four-person offer from T-Mobile, a reminder of how headed the competition is getting for streaming content. T-Mobile’s unlimited data plans have forced other wireless providers to offer competing plans, but not necessarily an outright offer of unlimited streaming or Web browsing.
T-Mobile has surpassed Sprint to become the No. 3 carrier behind ATT&T and Verizon. T-Mobile is attracting more than a million new monthly subscribers a quarter. But it has drawn flak for its Binge On service, which is criticized for below-par quality on video streams.