AT&T bundles Wi-Fi, HBO Max in connected car data plans

AT&T is adding HBO Max to the mix for its connected car data plans, debuting new offers that bundle unlimited in-car Wi-Fi and streaming content.

The new plan starts at $30 per month for access to HBO Max plus in-vehicle Wi-Fi.  HBO Max features a host of TV and movie content from Warner Bros., HBO, DC, Cartoon Network and original programming. Subscribers also have access to the content out of the vehicle wherever they go, such as at  home, on any supported devices. The plan also includes WarnerMedia Ride, which was added by AT&T in 2020 for select vehicles and offers news and entertainment content from channels like Bleacher Report, Boomerang, Cartoon Network, CNN, TBS and TNT. 

AT&T charges $20 per month for its lowest-cost unlimited in-car Wi-Fi data plan, which includes WarnerMedia Ride.  That content is only available in-vehicle, with AT&T’s Wi-Fi while devices are connected to the active built-in Wi-Fi hotspot.

RELATED: AT&T marks first 5G connected car deal with GM

The prices are for AT&T wireless customers and increase by $5 for non-AT&T wireless subscribers – to $35 per month for prepaid Wi-Fi data bundled with HBO Max and $25 per month for Wi-Fi only (both include WarnerMedia Ride).

Adding HBO to its connected car plans is something that’s been in the works for the carrier. Back in 2020 AT&T had said it planned to offer HBO Max as a “unique premium bundle of connectivity and content” for connected car subscribers starting in 2021.

The in-vehicle Wi-Fi plans with HBO MAX will be available across about 24 automotive brands in the U.S.

“Connectivity is an important part of the car purchasing decision, and we’re committed to providing the best wireless experience whether vehicle owners are running an errand or entertaining the kids while on a road trip,” said Joe Mosele, VP of Mobility, IoT & 5G for AT&T, in the announcement. “With the launch of our HBO Max bundle, we’re bringing more options for our customers to select the best plan for them – all with access to AT&T In-car Wi-Fi.”

As of the fourth quarter of 2021, AT&T has more than 51 million connected cars on its network, according to a Thursday blog post by Mosele touting the milestone. The carrier added more than 1 million connected cars to its network for the past 27 quarters in a row, he noted. 

RELATED: Verizon inks first 5G automotive deal with Audi

On the connected car front, some automakers are starting to look ahead to embed 5G cellular connectivity in-vehicle.  In August, AT&T nabbed its first 5G connected car deal, with GM that will see 5G-equipped vehicles starting with select model year-2024. Over the next 10 years, GM and AT&T said they expect to have 5G in “millions of GM vehicles coming off the assembly line.”

Competitor Verizon just marked its own first 5G auto win, signing a deal to support Audi vehicles in the U.S. with its 5G Ultra Wideband network. The embedded 5G technology is expected to be available from Audi starting with select model-year 2024 vehicles, with expectations to enhance performance, in-vehicle experiences and safety features.