AT&T Mulls Ad-Supported Phone Plans, With HBO Max As 'Foundational' Element: Report

AT&T may introduce ad-supported wireless phone plans within a year or two, CEO John Stankey revealed in an interview with Reuters on Tuesday.

“I believe there’s a segment of our customer base where given a choice, they would take some load of advertising for a $5 or $10 reduction in their mobile bill,” Stankey said.

The addition of new advertising inventory through the launch of the ad-supported version of HBO Max next year will be a “foundational element” for ad-supported phone plans, he added.



AT&T engineers are creating “unified customer identifiers,” to enable targeting and customization of ads across multiple devices and support higher CPMs, Stankey confirmed.

While the company has used its phone, TV and internet customer data to target advertising in its own media, it has been slower in enabling advertisers to use its customer data in outside media channels, he said.

In March, AT&T announced that its Xandr ad marketplace was making Disney and AMC Networks linear TV inventory available to advertisers, along with its WarnerMedia inventory.

Xandr is among the assets that AT&T is considering selling, according to a recent Wall Street Journal report.

That report followed AT&T’s recent restructuring of its overall advertising business, reflecting its emphasis on HBO Max and its TV networks.

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