AT&T will start offering 'skinny bundle' TV service


The plans - AT&T Unlimited &More and AT&T Unlimited &More Premium - are scheduled to launch next week.

A federal judge earlier this month approved the merger of AT&T and Time Warner, handing AT&T a win after the Department of Justice sued to stop the deal, saying a merger would give AT&T unfair leverage over rival pay-TV providers. Customers who choose two new unlimited plans, called "AT&T Unlimited & More" and "AT&T Unlimited & More Premium" will be available next week and come with access to the WatchTV app, which includes 31 live channels. WatchTV will also include more than 15,000 TV shows and movies on demand. Unlike those competing services, though, WatchTV has two big differences: it is only $15/month, making it the cheapest option thus far, and it has less channels than multiple other services.

But with people paying for a growing number of services like HBO, Hulu, Netflix and DirectTV Now, streaming can end up being just as expensive as cable, if not more so. It won't feature any sports networks - no ESPN for subscribers - but it is heavy on news and entertainment offerings such as AMC, the History Channel, BBC America, Lifetime and Oprah Winfrey's OWN.

The AT&T Unlimited &More plan starts at $70 a month and includes the basic WatchTV service. The company plans to add a few more "soon" after WatchTV launches, those additions including Nick Toons, Teen Nick, and Comedy Central, among others.

DirecTV Now starts at $35 a month for more than 60 channels, including sports channels, with additional channels available at higher prices.

AT&T's new plans replace its previous plans, though customers can remain on the plan they now have. HBO is also part of Time Warner.

CEO Randall Stephenson announced AT&T's plans to offer a free "skinny bundle" TV service to subscribers in testimony during the just-completed antitrust trial.