Rough Stuff! T-Mobile Takes A Big Swipe At DirecTV Now

Nasty! Most of the time, competitors go at each other without taking potshots. Mobile competitors Verizon, Sprint, AT&T and T-Mobile, do make some deep digs, but usually don’t really squeal about competitors’ missteps by offering promotions around it.

That’s why T-Mobile’s new hook up with Hulu, announced yesterday, really raises eyebrows.

Earlier, it gave customers who switched from AT&T to T-Mobile a free year of AT&T’s new streaming service, DirecTV Now, a pretty bold move to prevent losses of potential cellphone customers.

But DirecTV Now is having difficulties-it’s ”barely watchable”--says T-Mobile’s CEO--so now T-Mobile is offering customers a free year of Hulu, while continuing to pay for their DirecTV Now service. That Hulu subscription is worth $7.99 a month.

What a wacky situation, especially because Hulu is planning its own live streaming service, similar to DirecTV Now, but, presumably one that works better. So, it would seem, T-Mobile is sending customers to Hulu just in time to be there when it expands.



T-Mobile proclaimed Wednesday, “T-Mobile Gives a Free Year of Hulu to Cover the Stench of DirecTV Now.”

I don’t know about you, but “stench” seems to be a pretty heavy-duty label, but it would seem both T-Mobile and Hulu see an opportunity, so the gloves are off.

It’s an odd situation. Just yesterday AT&T was telling analysts it is happy--delirious, almost--with its subscription pace, while a lot of users are whatever-is-the-opposite-of-delirious.

First the good AT&T news. In one month, DirecTV Now snapped up 200,000 subscribers, a mark AT&T’s U-verse didn’t reach for a year and a half after its launch in 2007, AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson told analysts. And the new subscribers are younger, hipper, media consumers.

Now the bad news: A lot of those new customers hate it.

“Subscribers have complained of being unable to watch shows, frequent interruptions, missing features, billing issues, and more pretty much nonstop since the service’s November 30th launch,” reported The Verge earlier this month. “Many say it’s simply unusable.”

The Verge says DirecTV Now’s Twitter support team has “been apologizing day after day and promising updates that seemingly haven’t come.”

TechCrunch added that consumers are grumbling they can’t get a refund for their subscriptions. So far, though, DirecTV Now seems to be charging uptown prices for what is, in a lot of ways, still a beta product.

“AT&T spent $67 billion on DirecTV and still couldn’t roll out a streaming service that worked!” crowed T-Mobile president and CEO John Legere in its press release announcing its promotion. Now that's nasty!

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