It’s borderline 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 when they have something positive to convey to their potential customers.
That said, it looks like AT&T has quietly removed the HBO Max perk for new customers who opt for the carrier’s top-tier unlimited wireless plan. In fact, the Unlimited Elite plan, AT&T’s highest-tier postpaid plan for phones, starting at $85 per line, no longer exists (sort of).
The Unlimited Elite plan previously offered unlimited high-speed priority on device data, 40GB of hotspot data, 4K video streaming, Canada and Mexico coverage for the plan, and HBO Max streaming service for free.
Instead of the Unlimited Elite plan which has been removed from AT&T’s website, there’s now a new Unlimited Premium plan, which is basically the same (including price), but with a couple of changes. The biggest one is the removal of the HBO Max streaming service. The second is the addition of 10GB of hotspot data on top of the usual 40GB.
So now, instead of getting 40GB of high-speed mobile hotspot use, customers will get 50GB, but they will no longer be able to watch HBO Max for free. Unfortunately, that’s nowhere near the $15/month value that the HBO Max bundled perk that Unlimited Elite plan customers would get.
On the bright side, if you’re already subscribed to AT&T’s Unlimited Elite plan, you will not lose any of these perks as long as you keep you plan. However, new customers will now have to opt for the Unlimited Premium plan if they want AT&T’s highest-tier unlimited wireless plan.
It’s interesting to note though that AT&T’s prepaid carrier, Cricket Wireless, still offers HBO Max’s ad-supported tier as part of its plan offering, but that might change sooner rather than later.
Back in November when AT&T’s sale of WarnerMedia to Discovery was in full swing, the carrier’s 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 was quoted as saying he expects the carrier to reach a commercial agreement to continue to bundle HBO Max.
Sadly, two months after the completion of the $43 billion Warner Bros. Discovery deal, it looks like the two companies didn’t manage to sign any agreements regarding the distribution of HBO Max.
In a statement provided to CNET, AT&T spokesman Jim Greer said that “HBO Max is a great service, but we constantly experiment with the features we offer our customers to give them the best value.” Replacing HBO Max with 10GB of hotspot data is clearly not great value, but at least you get to keep your perks if you’re already subscribed to AT&T’s Unlimited Elite plan.