AT&T Raises Prices After Saying Merger Would Make Things Cheaper For Consumers

AT&T, which recently acquired Time Warner in a landmark merger, is hiking up the prices for some DirecTV customers, even after telling a federal judge earlier this year that the merger could lower prices for its customers.

The company’s streaming service DirecTV Now, which it owned before the merger, will now cost new and existing customers $5 more per month, bringing the service’s cheapest package up to $40 per month and the most expensive package to $75.

AT&T explained the increase in a statement provided to Cord Cutter News, which first reported it: “To continue delivering the best possible streaming experience for both new and existing customers, we’re bringing the cost of this service in line with the market — which starts at a $40 price point.”

Other online streaming services have recently increased their prices, including Dish Network’s Sling TV (which is hiking its Sling Orange package by $5 to $25 per month) and YouTube TV (which is also increasing by $5 to $40 per month in March), according to the Washington Post.

AT&T’s DirecTV Now price increase begins on July 26 for new customers and, according to USA Today, it’s not the company’s only price hike.

AT&T also increased its monthly “administrative fee” twice in the most recent quarter, hiking up the fee 76 cents to a total of $1.99 per month for cellphone bills, USA Today reported.

The telecom company also updated two of its unlimited mobile plans last week, tacking on $5 to its cheapest plan (for a total of $70) while dropping a subscription to HBO which it previously offered for free, according to Ars Technica.

The Justice Department attempted to block AT&T’s purchase of Time Warner in federal court, arguing in an antitrust case that the merger would create a media monopoly and lead to higher prices for both AT&T customers and other cable providers that serve Time Warner content.

Three weeks ago, Judge Richard Leon sided with AT&T, allowing the telecom giant to move forward with its $85.4 billion deal to acquire Time Warner.

The acquisition gives AT&T ownership of HBO, Warner Bros. film and television studios, DC Entertainment, Cartoon Network, TBS, CNN and the cable network giant Turner Broadcasting. Verizon, a competitor of AT&T’s, owns HuffPost’s parent company, Oath.

In 2016, Reuters noted that the merger would be the first deal that combines a “major U.S. media company with a wireless network, satellite TV distributor, and high-speed Internet service provider.”

CORRECTION: Dish Network’s Sling TV Orange package and YouTube TV raised its prices by $5, not from $5, as was mentioned in a previous version of this article. 

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