T-Mobile announced this week that it is expanding the media streaming benefits included in its priciest 5G smartphone plan. The carrier’s Magenta MAX or Go5G Next plan will now come with a free subscription to Hulu’s ad-supported streaming service.
T-Mobile Builds Out Streaming Suite
The inclusion of Hulu marks the latest streaming addition to T-Mobile’s portfolio of media perks for its high-end unlimited data plans. T-Mobile already offers free subscriptions to Netflix, Apple TV+ and Paramount+ as part of its bid to attract and retain premium unlimited subscribers.
“We’re amping up the streaming value of our industry-leading 5G wireless plans with the addition of Hulu. Now, customers on our top plans get access to even more premium entertainment alongside their Netflix, Paramount+, and Apple TV+ already included,” said Jon Freier, President of Consumer Group at T-Mobile. “With Hulu on Us, T-Mobile customers get the best wireless network AND the best streaming lineup — all at no extra cost.”
T-Mobile has made bundling media subscriptions an integral part of its wireless strategy, pursuing partnerships with top streamers:
|Free Netflix Basic (1 screen)
|Free Apple TV+
|1 Year Free Paramount+ Essential
|Free Hulu (With Ads)
“T-Mobile recognized very early on that content was going to be an important layer in their wireless plans to attract and retain customers,” said CFRA Research analyst Keith Snyder. “Offering free streaming has become table stakes in the premium unlimited market.”
The Un-carrier’s streaming expansion has played a role in its strong customer growth in recent years. T-Mobile reported 2.5 million postpaid net additions in 2022, leading the industry.
Hulu Joins T-Mobile’s Max Plan on Jan. 26
Current and new Magenta MAX customers will gain access to the ad-supported version of Hulu at no extra cost starting on January 26. The Hulu plan normally costs $7.99 per month as a standalone service.
T-Mobile is timing the rollout to coincide with some buzzworthy new shows and movies coming to Hulu this winter, including “The Last of Us,” “Extrapolations,” “Tell Me Lies,” and “Fleishman Is in Trouble.”
The carrier spent 2022 revamping its unlimited plans around its 5G network. As part of that process, it introduced a new premium plan called Go5G Next, which sits above Magenta MAX as the highest monthly plan.
Both Magenta MAX and Go5G Next will include Hulu for account owners. T-Mobile serves around 110 million wireless customers across consumer and business lines.
Netflix Shift Draws Some Complaints
While subscribers cheered the arrival of Hulu, T-Mobile also ignited complaints by revealing changes to its free Netflix offering.
Going forward, T-Mobile will provide the ad-supported version of Netflix’s Basic plan with its lower cost Essentials, Magenta and ONE plans. Previously, it offered the ad-free Netflix Basic tier which allows 1 concurrent HD stream.
“We will soon be transitioning our complimentary 1-screen Netflix plan on Us from Basic (without ads) to Basic with ads,” T-Mobile explained on its website. “This change applies only to T-Mobile customers on Essentials, Magenta or ONE plans receiving the current Netflix on Us Basic (1 Screen) plan.”
The shift shows how T-Mobile is adjusting perks across pricing tiers. Top subscribers keep ad-free Netflix and gain Hulu, while lower unlimited tiers will now see ads with their free Netflix hours.
“They’re going to do what they can to continue driving customers to Magenta Max,” Snyder said. “It’s their most profitable plan.”
Outlook: More Deals Likely But Profit Focus Too
After locking in partnerships with four major streamers, T-Mobile may find it harder to strike additional free streaming pacts. With new CEO Jacques Parenteau at the helm in 2023, T-Mobile appears likely to balance customer growth with profit goals.
But analysts say more streaming moves could still emerge as wireless competition heats up in coming years.
“I think there potentially are still some opportunities out there,” said LightShed Partners analyst Walter Piecyk. “Streaming services view bundled wireless plans as a great way to reduce churn and gain subscribers.”
Potential partners cited by analysts include ESPN+, discovery+, and niche services like AMC+, Starz or Showtime. Any future deals may target specific demographics instead of the four broad platforms now offered.
“It will be interesting to see if they target any services towards their younger customers,” Snyder said. “But the focus is going to continue shifting towards driving profits.”