HBO Max, AT&T’s big bet on the future of streaming, will be excused from AT&T’s mobile data caps, while competing services like Netflix and Disney Plus will use up your data.
That’s the follow-up from a Vergecast conversation with Tony Goncalves, the AT&T executive in charge of HBO Max. Asked whether HBO Max would hit the cap, Goncalves said his team “had the conversation” but didn’t have the answer. AT&T later confirmed to The Verge that HBO Max will be excused from the company’s traditional data caps and the soft data caps on unlimited plans.
According to an AT&T executive familiar with the matter, HBO Max is using AT&T’s “sponsored data” system, which technically allows any company to pay to excuse its services from data caps. But since AT&T owns HBO Max, it’s just paying itself: the data fee shows up on the HBO Max books as an expense and on the AT&T Mobility books as revenue. For AT&T as a whole, it zeroes out. Compare that to a competitor like Netflix, which could theoretically pay AT&T for sponsored data, but it would be a pure cost.
Since ISPs and wireless carriers can do whatever they want to fuck the consumer after the death of Net Neutrality, here's AT&T's latest move.HBO Max won't hit AT&T data caps, but Netflix and Disney Plus will