For those that are doing a lot of video streaming now, two words that can bring fear to their hearts are “data cap”. When you’ve gone over your data allowance for the month, you will have to deal with slow connection to the point that you may not be able to watch your movie or TV show without experiencing buffering. But if you will subscribe to the newest video on demand streaming service HBO Max, it looks like it will not be subject to the data cap if you’re an AT&T subscriber.
If you know who owns HBO Max, then this is not surprising at all. Yes, the U.S. carrier AT&T owns the new video kid on the block and so will not be subject to the data cap that every account has. They are using the “sponsored data” system of AT&T which allows companies to excise their service from the data caps by paying a certain amount. So really, they’re just paying themselves anyway so iit will not be subject to that.
Unfortunately, those other video streaming Services ices you subscribe to will have to be counted against your allowance. So watching on Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, and the gazillion other services out there will affect your data until you eventually reach your cap and then the slowdown begins. They can of course theoretically pay for that sponsored data as well but then it would cost them a lot.
Under net neutrality principles, this should not be as a “free data” offer should give equal opportunity to all video streaming services. But since they own HBO Max, then they’re already at a distinct advantage over its competitors that are not owned by AT&T. The Verge says there’s no net neutrality in the US anyway and so they are getting away with it so to speak. This can be an incentive also for people to sign up for the new service if they want to be able to watch without going over their data allowance.
It’s still too early to see if HBO Max will be able to get a lot of subscribers in an increasingly crowded video streaming market. But for AT&T subscribers, this is an added bonus of course.