T-Mobile offers free Netflix, AT&T offers free HBO — and now its Sprint's turn to partner with a major video platform.
On Wednesday the company announced it will be teaming up with Hulu to offer subscriptions to the popular streaming service's limited commercial plan for free to Sprint unlimited users.
The deal, which officially launches Friday, Nov. 17, will be available to new and most existing Sprint unlimited subscribers.
Sprint's current unlimited plan, dubbed "Unlimited Freedom," costs $60 per month for one line or $100 per month for up to five lines for new subscribers until Jan. 31, 2019. According to Allan Samson, Sprint's senior vice president of acquisition marketing, 95% of new subscribers are choosing an unlimited plan. Of Sprint's roughly 54 million subscribers, over 60% are on unlimited plans according to the company.
As part of the promotion, Sprint unlimited users will get free access to Hulu's traditional $7.99 per month streaming plan (Hulu currently offers the plan for $5.99 as a "limited time promotion").
Users can sign up for the deal on Friday by going to sprint.com/hulu from their Sprint phone and following the outlined steps.
Each line on a Sprint family plan would be eligible to get their own Hulu account, so a family of five could each create their own separate accounts.
Once signed up, the accounts are treated as if they were a traditional Hulu subscriber. Users could then watch the streaming service on any device that has a Hulu app, including phones, tablets, video game systems and smart TVs.
Sprint says streams on its 4G LTE network will be available in HD at up to 1080p resolution. Those streaming to a TV or gaming systems can stream it up to 4K quality, assuming the content you are watching is available at that resolution and that you have 4K-capable device.
Those who already subscribe to Hulu's limited commercial plan can head to the aforementioned website to link their account with Sprint so that the wireless carrier takes over paying the bill. Similar to T-Mobile's deal with Netflix and AT&T's agreement with HBO, the company will continue paying for Hulu as long as customers keep their service with Sprint.
The new expectation
The partnership is not the first bundle for either company as both attempt to attract users in their respective, competitive markets. In addition to Hulu, Sprint currently offers a six-month free trial of music service Tidal to its subscribers. Hulu, meanwhile, recently partnered with Spotify on a student deal offering Spotify Premium and Hulu's limited commercial package for just $4.99 per month for college students.
Samson says the decision to come out with this partnership stems from what consumers now want out of a wireless carrier. "Customers overwhelmingly are saying this is a relevant factor in their decision of who they pick for their carrier as well as staying with their existing carrier."
In researching its own customers, Samson says the company found that one in three Sprint customers said that having a video service bundled would make them more likely to stay with the carrier.
When surveying people who were in the process of switching carriers, the company found that one in four people said that the inclusion of a video service played a role in which carrier they switched to.
Samson did not disclose terms of the Hulu deal, but did say the partnership would run for "multiple years." The company plans to offer an option for Hulu's live TV program in 2018, though Samson would not elaborate on how much that might cost or what kind of discount Sprint would offer.
Follow Eli Blumenthal on Twitter @eliblumenthal