Beginning August 20, the $10-a-month offering will be part of Cricket’s $60-a-month unlimited plans, for both new and existing subscribers. AT&T acquired the prepaid telecom operation in 2014. Five years later, it reached 10 million subscribers, though AT&T does not break out how many of those are at the unlimited level. Cricket subscription plans start at $30 a month for a single line.
Telecom’s prepaid segment has been on the rise lately, with Dish Network acquiring Boost Mobile for $1.4 billion as part of the Sprint-T-Mobile merger. Verizon has also made investments in the space.
HBO Max parent WarnerMedia, also owned by AT&T, has struck a number of distribution deals recently, widening access to the subscription service. The $15-a-month, ad-free version of HBO Max launched in May 2020, and the ad-supported one followed in June 2021.
AT&T’s wireless and pay-TV footprint offered an initial foundation for the service, which can be activated for free for any HBO subscribers. As of June 30, HBO and HBO Max together had 47 million subscribers in the U.S. AT&T has not offered any indication of how many signed up for HBO Max with Ads.
Over the course of this year, AT&T has made a series of moves to refocus on telecom and exit the entertainment business. It spun off DirecTV and other pay-TV assets into a stand-alone entity part-owned by private equity firm TPG, a deal that closed earlier this month. It announced last May that WarnerMedia would merge with Discovery into a new media entity. That combination is undergoing regulatory review and should be completed by mid-2022, the companies have said.
“We are always looking for ways to bring our customers the best value possible,” said Tony Mokry, VP and chief marketing officer for Cricket, in a press release. “We know they are hungry for content and HBO Max offers the most cutting-edge and high-quality entertainment available.”
The ad-supported tier of HBO Max offers a full range of programming but there are carve-outs. It does not offer day-and-date access to Warner Bros film releases. It features ads on a range of programming, including Max Originals like Gossip Girl and The Flight Attendant, though HBO series and films do not have ads.
“Since launching HBO Max last year, we’ve continually expanded customers’ access to the product,” said Jennifer Mirgorod, Head of Partner Management and Partner Marketing, WarnerMedia. As the ad-supported tier continues to see “strong growth,” added WarnerMedia ad sales chief JP Colaco, “we are pleased to further expand our footprint.”
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