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AT&T Drops Data Caps for Free if You Subscribe to DirecTV Now

Phillip Dampier December 19, 2018 AT&T, Competition, Consumer News, Data Caps, Net Neutrality 3 Comments

AT&T customers are telling Stop the Cap! the company is emailing their broadband customers to alert them they now qualify for unlimited internet access because they also happen to subscribe to DirecTV Now, AT&T’s streaming service targeting cord cutters.

“Good news about your internet service! Because you also added DIRECTV NOW℠ to your internet service, we’re giving you unlimited home internet data at no additional cost.”

AT&T normally charges customers an extra $30 a month to remove their 1,000 GB data cap.

The move has some net neutrality implications, because AT&T is favoring its own streaming service over the competition, which includes Sling TV, Hulu TV, PlayStation Vue, and other similar services. If a customer subscribes to Hulu TV, the 1 TB cap remains in force. If they switch to DirecTV Now, the cap is gone completely.

AT&T has undoubtedly heard from customers concerned about streaming video chewing up their data allowance. With AT&T’s DirecTV on the verge of launching a streaming equivalent of its satellite TV service, data caps are probably bad for business and could deter customers from switching.

It is yet the latest evidence that data caps are more about marketing and revenue than technical necessity.

Updated 1:15pm EST 12/20: Hat tip to Karl Bode, who got AT&T’s official confirmation the unlimited internet offer that formerly applied to DirecTV satellite customers has now quietly been extended to DirecTV Now streaming customers as well. We are still looking for a screen cap of anyone who received an e-mail from AT&T about unlimited service for streaming customers. If you have one, drop me a line at phil (at) stopthecap.com

Currently there are 3 comments on this Article:

  1. Ian S Littman says:

    Betcha they come back with “we figure most of the video content people will be watching will be DTVNow if they have a subscription for that with us, and since that’s delivered via our state-of-the-art private fiber backbone it’s less expensive to deliver than bits from YouTube, Hulu, etc.”.

    Which is BS, given that 100M DSL here with the unlimited upcharge costs just as much as gigabit fiber (where available), which has no cap. And business class DSL, also with no cap, has a 24-month intro promo at $60/mo here.

    Particularly since DTVNow’s $40 tier probably costs more than $10 to provide, so if AT&T’s $30 uncap-me fee at all reflected real-world costs then they’d be losing money on the DTV deal.

  2. Troy Oberg says:

    Sounds a little better than Comcast.

    I live in a Comcast monopoly area, I have no choice but to go with Comcast and its 1TB limit.

    Comcast’s uncap fee is $50+.

    Are there any lawsuits that’s underway??

  3. Scott M says:

    Unfortunately, this appears to be only half true.

    Scouring the AT&T customer forums, this appears to be a limited promotion for some existing DirecTV Now customers.

    New customers don’t get unlimited data. Existing customers who and are discontinuing DirecTV will lose unlimited data if they previously got it free by bundling DirecTV and internet.

    Believe me, I’ve spent hours on the phone with customer relations to no avail.

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