T-Mobile is continuing its attack on AT&T by introducing a bonus of one free year of Hulu for AT&T customers who switched to T-Mobile under a prior offer where they received a free year of DirecTV Now. T-Mobile has been sniping at DirecTV Now’s sketchy service since it launched, so its new offer amounts to a make-good for customers who made the switch, but may have ended up feeling underwhelmed by DirecTV Now.
T-Mobile has been the most aggressive of all the wireless carriers in promoting mobile video as a key value proposition, so the Hulu offer is another extension of its strategy. Its Binge On service now includes over 120 different video services that can be streamed without impacting users’ data caps. The original DirecTV Now offer in December also aimed to undercut AT&T’s efforts to create a perception that bundled DirecTV Now and AT&T was a special deal.
More broadly, T-Mobile’s Hulu offer provides further evidence of the interdependence of video and wireless. A few weeks ago, I provided 7 reasons why I thought mobile video is at a tipping point, highlighting that all the major wireless carriers are loosening up their data plans to enable more video viewing and, in Verizon’s and AT&T’s case, are investing aggressively in content as well. There is no doubt that with a far more lenient regulatory environment under the new Republican-led FCC, these efforts will accelerate.
Of course there will be plenty of speed bumps as wireless carriers move into video, as we’ve seen just this week with Verizon laying off 155 Go90 employees, not to mention DirecTV Now’s rampant service issues.
Still, video is going to play a much more central role for wireless carriers - with investments, special promotional offers like we’re seeing with Hulu and more. All of this is positive for viewers who want high-quality mobile access to their favorite programs.