It’s almost frustrating when big companies make major changes to their services that negatively impact customers, and don’t even bother communicating them through official channels. That certainly doesn’t happen if they have something positive to say to their potential customers.
That said, it seems that AT&T has quietly removed the HBO Max perk for new customers who opt for the carrier’s unlimited wireless plan. In fact, the Unlimited Elite plan, AT&T’s top-rated postpaid plan for phones, starting at $85 per line, no longer exists (sort of).
The Unlimited Elite plan previously offered unlimited high-speed device data priority, 40GB of hotspot data, 4K video streaming, Canada and Mexico coverage for the plan, and free HBO Max streaming service.
Instead of the Unlimited Elite plan that was removed from AT&T’s website, there is now a new Unlimited Premium plan, which is basically the same (price included), but with a few changes. The biggest is the removal of the HBO Max streaming service. The second is the addition of 10 GB of hotspot data on top of the usual 40 GB.
So instead of getting 40GB of fast mobile hotspots, customers get 50GB but can no longer watch HBO Max for free. Unfortunately, that’s nowhere near the $15/month value that the HBO Max bundled benefit offers customers of the Unlimited Elite plan.
On the plus side, if you’re already subscribed to AT&T’s Unlimited Elite plan, you won’t lose any of these benefits as long as you keep your subscription. However, new customers will now have to opt for the Unlimited Premium plan if they want AT&T’s unlimited wireless plan.
However, it is interesting to note that AT&T’s prepaid provider, Cricket Wireless, still offers the ad-supported tier of HBO Max as part of the subscription, but that may change sooner or later.
In November, as AT&T’s sale of WarnerMedia to Discovery was in full swing, carrier officials said that AT&T will continue to bundle HBO Max with its wireless plans even after the deal closes. AT&T’s CFO Pascal Desroches said he expects the airline to reach a commercial agreement to continue bundling HBO Max.
Unfortunately, two months after the Warner Bros. Discovery deal of $43 billion, it appears that the two companies have failed to sign agreements regarding the distribution of HBO Max.
In a statement provided to CNETAT&T spokesman Jim Greer said that “HBO Max is a great service, but we are constantly experimenting with the features we bring to our customers to give them the best value† Replacing HBO Max with 10GB of hotspot data obviously isn’t great value, but at least you can keep your benefits if you’re already subscribed to AT&T’s Unlimited Elite plan.