AT&T Excuses HBO Max from Mobile Data Caps … but Enforces Them on Netflix and Disney Plus

Telecom’s sponsored data policy enables news streaming service to be exempted via pocket-to-pocket transaction

AT&T has exempted use of its new streaming service, HBO Max, from counting against the mobile data caps and soft caps of its wireless customers.

The news comes courtesy of The Verge, which spoke to Tony Goncalves, the CEO of AT&T’s Otter Media division who helped spearhead the development of HBO Max.

Also read: HBO Max: Everything You Need to Know About the Big OTT Service AT&T Has Its Entire Future Riding On (No Pressure!)

Notably, usage by AT&T wireless customers of streaming services including Netflix, Hulu and Disney Plus is not exempted from data usage limits.

What seems to be a clear violation of 2015 FCC net neutrality rules that have since been rolled back, AT&T justifies the move under its sponsored data policy, whereby third party companies can pay the telecom to be taken off the meter in regard to customer data usage.

As The Verge noted, the only services using the policy happen to be AT&T streaming platforms.

Amid the pandemic, AT&T suspended wireline data caps through June 30. It’s unclear as to whether the exemption will also apply to AT&T home internet service when and if those caps return.