AT&T Unveils 'Premium' Plan That Includes On-Demand Pandora or Amazon for Free

Roger Lynch Pandora
Theo Wargo/Getty Images for Pandora

Ty Dolla Sign and Pandora CEO Roger Lynch pose backstage at Pandora Sounds Like You: 2017 on Dec. 5, 2017 in New York City. 

A week after a historic victory against regulators seeking to scuttle it acquisition of Time Warner, telecom giant AT&T has unveiled a pair of unlimited data plans that feature a large suite of live-TV channels and -- relevant to music lovers -- an option to have a free on-demand music subscription from Pandora or Amazon.

The company said on Thursday that beginning Tuesday, June 26, more than 142 million subscribers will be able to upgrade to one of two offerings, AT&T Unlimited &More ($70/month) or its more expensive sibling AT&T Unlimited &More Premium ($80).

Both plans include a new over-the-top service that AT&T is calling WatchTV, which features more than 30 live channels, including CNN and AMC, as well as access to 15,000 movies and TV shows available for on-demand viewing. AT&T said its new offering will be available "on virtually any smartphone," as well as on certain streaming devices.

If mobile users choose to go "Premium," they'll get to pick one of either Pandora Premium, Amazon Music Unlimited, HBO, Cinemax, Showtime, Starz or VRV at no extra charge. Pandora and Amazon's respective all-you-can-eat services normally cost $9.99/month. "Premium" users also get 15GB of high-speed tethering, access to high definition video, and a $15 monthly credit toward DIRECTV, DIRECTV NOW or AT&T's U-verse TV.

"Forging strong relationships with leading brands across multiple categories is a key focus for Pandora as we look to drive user growth," said Pandora CEO Roger Lynch. "Teaming up with AT&T makes perfect sense -- we have the opportunity to introduce Pandora Premium to AT&T’s massive subscriber base and provide them with the added-value of our on-demand music service."

As reported by The Hollywood Reporter, AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson teased WatchTV several times during testimony related to obtaining regulatory approval for the company's $85.4 billion acquisition of Time Warner. He said customers were demanding skinny bundles with prices kept low because there would be no sports or broadcast channels included, and he suggested the best way get WatchTV to consumers quickly would be to allow the merger.

On June 12,  U.S. District Court Judge Richard Leon approved the merger, rejecting the Justice Department's contention that combining the two mega-companies would stifle competition. AT&T then closed the acquisition and renamed its new division as WarnerMedia.

"We were the first wireless provider to bring entertainment and unlimited data together, and, once again, we’re redefining what that means," David Christopher, president of AT&T Mobility and Entertainment, said on Thursday. “This is no longer about including one channel or service with your wireless plan, but an incredible lineup of content that delivers more of what you care about."

The Hollywood Reporter contributed to this report.


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