AT&T exempts HBO Max from data caps but still limits your Netflix use

AT&T exempts HBO Max from data caps but still limits your Netflix use

Zero-rating —

AT&T-owned HBO Max will get particular remedy on AT&T community.

Enlarge / AT&T govt John Stankey at a presentation for traders at Warner Bros. Studios on October 29, 2019, in Burbank, California.

AT&T’s new HBO Max streaming service is exempt from the service’s cellular information caps, despite the fact that competing providers corresponding to Netflix, Amazon, and Disney+ depend in opposition to the month-to-month information limits. This information was reported immediately in an article by The Verge, which stated that AT&T “confirmed to The Verge that HBO Max will likely be excused from the corporate’s conventional information caps and the delicate information caps on limitless plans.”

The standard information caps restrict clients to a specific amount of information every month earlier than they need to pay overage charges or face excessive slowdowns for the remainder of the month. “Comfortable information caps on limitless plans” apparently is a reference to the 22GB or 50GB thresholds, after which unlimited-data customers could also be prioritized under different customers when connecting to a congested cell tower.

“Based on an AT&T govt conversant in the matter, HBO Max is utilizing AT&T’s ‘sponsored information’ system, which technically permits any firm to pay to excuse its providers from information caps,” The Verge wrote. “However since AT&T owns HBO Max, it is simply paying itself: the information payment exhibits up on the HBO Max books as an expense and on the AT&T Mobility books as income. For AT&T as a complete, it zeroes out. Examine that to a competitor like Netflix, which may theoretically pay AT&T for sponsored information, however it will be a pure price.”

We requested AT&T whether or not HBO Max can even be exempt from AT&T home-Web information caps and can replace this text if we get a solution. (Replace: AT&T informed us the brand new streaming service is just not exempt from home-Web caps, so “HBO Max would depend towards your private home information allotment.”) AT&T house and cellular information caps are suspended throughout the coronavirus pandemic till a minimum of June 30, however AT&T will presumably carry them again someday after that.

AT&T is together with HBO Max at no further cost on sure Web plans, which it additionally did with earlier variations of HBO.

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AT&T has owned HBO because it bought Time Warner in June 2018. HBO Max, which prices $15 a month, is actually an enlargement of the HBO Now service. The HBO Max person interface didn’t impress Ars reviewer Sam Machkovech when he examined it out final week.

  • AT&T clients will not must burn by means of their information plans to scroll by means of HBO Max’s unwieldy interface, which Ars Technica’s Sam Machkovech likened to “crashing by means of the glass door of a badly managed Blockbuster Video.”

  • Sidebar.

  • HBO Max’s hubs.

  • The 25 collection within the Cartoon Community hub, as of launch.


  • A go to to the Sesame Road hub reveals a peculiar organizational difficulty: classes that hyperlink to total episodes. These “spoofs and parodies” are tucked into longer episodes, and HBO Max does not use timestamps to let watchers skip on to the related bits. It is an unwieldy try to information viewers.


  • The 9 collection within the Grownup Swim hub, as of launch.


  • It’s a must to scroll fairly a methods to choose by means of extra episodes, although a minimum of the season-skipping interface is nimble sufficient.

  • When watching movies on a desktop Internet browser, the interface largely resembles HBO Now, full with the “rewind 15 seconds” button. You will not discover that handy toggle on each platform, nevertheless.

  • The opening web page for any collection has a large pattern display.

When Democrat Tom Wheeler chaired the Federal Communications Fee, the company dominated that AT&T and Verizon Wi-fi violated internet neutrality guidelines by letting their very own video providers stream with out counting in opposition to clients’ cellular information caps whereas charging different video suppliers for a similar information cap exemptions. In that case, AT&T was letting DirecTV providers stream with out counting in opposition to the cap. The FCC rescinded the discovering lower than two weeks after President Trump promoted Republican Ajit Pai to the chairmanship, and carriers have since been free to deploy data-cap exemptions as they need.

In July 2015, when AT&T purchased DirecTV, the Wheeler FCC imposed a merger situation that barred AT&T from exempting its personal on-line video providers from home-Web information caps. However the situation had a four-year time restrict and expired in 2019, and the situation by no means utilized to AT&T’s cellular community.

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