In the past, AT&T offered free Max (at the time HBO Max) access if you had select AT&T plans. Back in September, AT&T removed this free perk from many AT&T customers are receiving notifications that their free Max access is going away.
Customers are reporting that they’ve received a notice that their plan would no longer include Max. Back in September, DIRECTV said that the customers who are getting the alert are ones who are no longer on an AT&T wireless or internet plan that includes HBO, although some of the complaints are coming from people who say they haven’t made any recent changes.
Back in spokesman clarified that the affected customers may have changed their plans a while back, whether it was moving to a different AT&T internet service like fiber or switching to a new type of mobile plan, and that the change is just being made now. He noted that customers who believe they’re still on an eligible plan should contact AT&T to ensure that they get access back.
It seems that AT&T is going through the plans of customers who have free Max from AT&T to see if they still qualify. It seems that AT&T is sending DIRECTV a list of anyone they find not on a qualifying plan for free Max.
DIRECTV dropping Max represents cutting the last vestiges of a complicated relationship between both AT&T and HBO. When AT&T owned both DIRECTV and Warner Media, it bundled together access to the HBO Max streaming service with home internet, video and cellular plans. But now, AT&T has fully split from Warner, which merged with Discovery to form Warner Bros. Discover. In addition, AT&T spun off DIRECTV as a standalone private business that it has a stake in.
Back with AT&T-owned Warner Media, they sued free HBO Max to help drive subscriptions to select wireless plans and home internet services. Now that they no longer own HBO they have stopped offering this benefit.
With a lot of the connections frayed or cut altogether, there’s less incentive to keep the promotion going. Not that customers care about the internal machinations and relationships of multi-billion dollar companies.
Free access to streaming services like HBO Max was a big trend a few years back, with Verizon partnering with Disney+ and T-Mobile hooking up with Netflix. But the carriers have in the last year moved away from these freebies, instead offering them at a discount or only including them in the most expensive phone plans.
Cord Cutters News has reached out to DIRECTV about these latest Max cancelations and will update our story as we learn more.