Cricket Wireless Offering Ad-Supported HBO Max Service Free to Customers

Starting August 20, Cricket Wireless will offer the ad-supported tier of HBO Max ($9.99 per month value) for free to new and existing customers on its $60 per month unlimited plan.

That wireless plan comes with 15GB of mobile hotspot and access to Cricket’s 5G network on eligible devices.

“We are always looking for ways to bring our customers the best value possible. We know they are hungry for content and HBO Max offers the most cutting-edge and high-quality entertainment available,” Tony Mokry, VP and chief marketing officer of Cricket Wireless, said in a statement. “From cult classics to new HBO Max Originals, we know our customers will be smiling ear to ear when they dive in. We’re so excited to be able to bring this incredible service and library of content to our beloved customers.”

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“Since launching HBO Max last year, we’ve continually expanded customers’ access to the product, and partnering with Cricket, our first prepaid wireless distributor of the streaming platform, is a great opportunity to offer millions of customers instant access to HBO Max at no cost to them,” Jennifer Mirgorod, head of partner management and partner marketing for WarnerMedia, said in a statement.

“The ad supported tier of HBO Max is a best-in-class, consumer-first media experience featuring the most premium content alongside an industry-leading limited advertising environment,” JP Colaco, president of WarnerMedia ad sales, said in a statement. “As we continue to see strong growth to this offering, we are pleased to further expand our footprint and welcome the Cricket Wireless customers.”

In addition to viewing shows from their phones, customers can access the streaming service by downloading the HBO Max app on a supported device.

Existing HBO Max customers who are on Cricket’s $60 unlimited plan can download the app and use their Cricket Wireless credentials to start this benefit. New and other existing customers can get or upgrade to the $60 per month plan and get access to the ad-supported tier of HBO Max.

Netflix Expands Mobile Phone-Only Access With EE Partnership

Netflix has partnered with British telecom EE (formerly Everything Everywhere) to offer select wireless subscribers free access to the subscription streaming behemoth’s platform. Under the deal, EE Smart handset and SIM subs will have access to Netflix’s Basic plan worth £5.99 ($8.31) per month, which they can watch on their smartphone as well as their Smart TV.

EE, a division of BT Group, is the largest mobile network operator and Internet service provider in the U.K., with more than 28 million subs.

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EE Smart customers can pay £4 ($5.55) more a month to upgrade to the Netflix Standard plan, offering streaming and downloading to two devices simultaneously in HD, or they can choose to pay £8 ($11.10) a month and upgrade to Netflix Premium plan with access to UHD content and the ability to stream and download to four devices simultaneously — all on their mobile bill.

Customers who already have a Netflix account can keep it and any payments they are making to Netflix will stop. If a customer chooses to upgrade to Netflix’s standard or premium plans, the surcharges will be added to their EE bill.

EE continues to see an increase in mobile network data traffic as a result of customers accessing video on the move. The equivalent of an additional 1.3 million hours of HD video streaming took place on the network in July compared to May as pandemic restrictions in the U.K. started to ease.

According to a survey, 20% of smartphone users across the U.K. said they plan to access more video content on their mobile device with lockdown lifted.

“We’re constantly looking for ways to offer our customers the best experience when using our network, and as part of this we look to partner with the most innovative companies in the world,” Sharon Meadows, director of propositions, said in a statement.

T-Mobile Launches TVision Live Streaming Service

T-Mobile is targeting cord-cutters with TVision, a new live streaming service starting at $10 a month and launching Nov. 1.

“With TVision, you can cut the cord, cut the cost and cut the crap,” said Dow Draper, T-Mobile EVP of emerging products, who announced the move in a webcast.

TVision Live includes live news, sports, 100 hours of cloud DVR and more than 10,000 programs on-demand starting at $40 a month. It includes ABC, Fox, NBC, Turner, ESPN and more.

TVision Live TV+ includes all of the above, plus 10-plus more channels, including the NFL Network, ESPNU, SEC Network and The Golf Channel, at $50 a month.

TVision Live Zone, for sports fans at $60 a month, includes all of the above, plus 10 additional channels, including NFL Red Zone.

TVision Vibe, at $10 a month, includes live and on-demand programming from AMC, BET, Discovery, Food Network, Hallmark, HGTV, MTV, TLC and more (30-plus channels).

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TVision Channels features a-la-carte streaming services with one bill, one login and one place to manage it in the T-Mobile app or online, starting with Starz, Showtime and Epix.

For full channel lineups, visit

Starting Nov. 1, customers who sign up for TVision Live TV+ or Live Zone packages by Dec. 31 will get Apple TV+ for free for a year, plus the option to add Apple TV 4K for $99.

TVision streaming services and the TVision Hub will be available nationwide for T-Mobile postpaid customers. Later in November, TVision services will be available to legacy Sprint customers and next year to prepaid customers.

The streaming services are available via Android and Apple mobile devices via the T-Mobile TVision app; on Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Android TV or Google TV using the TVision app; and the TVision Hub — an HDMI streaming device and remote for $50.

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NPD Survey: Two Out of Three Consumers Interested in Buying 5G Smart Phone

Two out of three consumers are interested in purchasing a 5G smart phone, according to a report from the NPD Group.

Based on the report findings, iOS users showed higher levels of interest (40% extremely or very interested) than Android users (33% extremely or very interested).

While 5G technology has not yet been widely adopted, the majority of U.S. consumers were aware of 5G and the promise of super-fast data transmissions that enable superior multimedia streaming and enhanced gaming experiences on mobile devices, according to the survey. The latest Mobile Connectivity Report from NPD’s Connected Intelligence found nine out of 10 consumers were aware of 5G networks; however, only 18% had heard of and understand the difference between the 5G network band types such as mid-band or high-band (Millimeter Wave) currently available in the United States.

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Generally, Android users had a higher level of awareness of the varieties of 5G networks currently available, according to NPD. In fact, 45% of Android users compared to 40% of iOS users were aware that there are different 5G network options.

“5G-enabled Android devices have been available to consumers, which may explain their increased awareness of 5G flavors, while iOS users have not yet had the opportunity to upgrade to 5G. Given the stronger interest from iOS users, a 5G-enabled iPhone could help drive adoption” said Brad Akyuz, executive director, industry analyst, NPD Connected Intelligence. “On the other hand, the current premature state of 5G networks in terms of speed and coverage will continue to be a barrier in the mass adoption of 5G smartphones. 5G smartphone volumes are poised to increase as networks improve and 5G smartphone prices gradually decrease.”

Global Mobile Consumers Spent 25% More Time Streaming in Q2 2020 Than Q4 2019

Global mobile consumers spent 25% more time streaming shows and movies in Q2 2020 than in Q4 2019, according to the latest report  from mobile data and analytics company App Annie.

Consumers spent 1.6 trillion hours on their mobile devices in the first half of 2020.

Other findings include:

  • Consumer spend on mobile rose to $50 billion in the first half of 2020, marking the biggest first half yet for iOS and Google Play.
  • Downloads of mobile apps and games topped $64 billion in the first half of 2020 across iOS and Google Play worldwide.
  • The average user spent 27% of daily waking hours, or 4.3 hours, on their mobile device in April 2020 — up 20% from 2019.
  • Social apps blurred the lines with streaming providers with the percentage of Netflix’s iPhone users also using TikTok growing from 15% to 45% in Q2 2020 compared to the same quarter in the previous year.
  • Mobile commerce surpassed 2019 holiday shopping levels.
  • Mobile ad placements grew 70% during the pandemic driven by interstitial ads.


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“COVID-19 propelled mobile usage forward — achieving growth that would have otherwise taken two to three years,” said Lexi Sydow, senior market insights manager for App Annie, in a statement. “As we head into the holiday season and 2021, businesses who prioritize mobile will outpace competitors, as mobile represents a significant driver of revenue growth for businesses.”

T-Mobile Offering Customers Free Quibi Subscription

T-Mobile is offering customers a free subscription to short-content streaming service Quibi via the promotion “Quibi on Us” when the service launches April 6.

Quibi, led by Jeffrey Katzenberg and Meg Whitman, delivers content designed specifically for smartphones. All Quibi videos are 10 minutes or less and feature such stars as Jennifer Lopez, Chrissy Teigen, Liam Hemsworth and Reese Witherspoon.

Via the exclusive deal with Quibi, T-Mobile customers with two or more voice lines at standard rates on Magenta and ONE plans with taxes and fees included — along with discounted First Responder, Military and Magenta Plus 55 plans — or small business customers with up to 12 lines, can get Quibi (regularly $4.99) added to their plan at no extra cost. Customers can sign up between now and July 7 to get “Quibi on Us” by going to or the T-Mobile app for iOS or Android beginning April 6. Until April 3, T-Mobile customers can sign up in the T-Mobile Tuesdays app or online for access to three bonus episodes of Jennifer Lopez’ “Thanks a Million” April 6.

After a full year of “Quibi on Us” and “Netflix on Us,” a promotion that offers SVOD service Netflix at no cost, Un-carrier customers can choose to continue with one or the other.

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“T-Mobile customers have always been ahead of the curve — streaming more data, watching more mobile video — so when we first heard about Quibi, we knew our customers would love it,” said Mike Sievert, president and CEO of T-Mobile, in a statement. “And, with more of us staying home right now, Quibi’s never been more needed. It comes on the scene with a totally different experience, made for mobile, quick to watch and as entertaining as anything you’ve ever seen.”

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“Quibi and T-Mobile are a perfect match — we’re both changing our industries by giving our customers what they want in truly unique and innovative ways,” said Meg Whitman, CEO of Quibi, in a statement. “And, since Quibi is built for an optimal mobile experience, we chose T-Mobile as our exclusive wireless launch partner. With the only nationwide 5G network, T-Mobile was the obvious choice for our customers.”

More than 85% of mobile video streamed on T-Mobile’s network is short-form content, according to the company.

Ficto, Free Mobile Streaming Alternative to Quibi, Launches App

Los Angeles-based Ficto, a free, ad-supported streaming service with content produced exclusively for mobile, has launched its mobile app, available on both iOS and Android.

In addition to being free, another advantage Ficto has over Quibi, the pending short-form mobile service from Jeffrey Katzenberg and Meg Whitman bowing April 6, is that Ficto offers interactive programming, according to CEO and co-founder Mike Esola.

“We’re doing stuff that they’re not doing, emphasizing interactivity,” he said. “If you happen to be in your 20s today, you look for things that are more than a passive experience.”

Ficto’s interactive features include live-stream, viewer geo-location, live chat, instant polling, choice-based narratives, 360 viewing, augmented reality (AR) characters and click-through e-commerce.

Ficto offers shows and series ranging from original dramas and licensed film adaptations, to comedies, docuseries, talk shows, game shows and news. The service is launching with 30 shows, averaging 5 minutes per episode, and anywhere from three to 10 episodes in a season — with an additional 20 shows already in production, and more added to the content pipeline weekly.

Ficto developed a unique technology similar to Quibi’s turnstile technology where editors retain creative choice of their series in portrait mode frame-by-frame while also having the ability to stream horizontally, according to Esola, who spent 15 years as a Hollywood talent agent.

Among the programs on the service is “Ingress: The Series by Niantic, developer of mobile AR games Pokémon Go and Harry Potter: Wizards Unite. It’s a narrative show that includes episodes interwoven with the real world game. The show will allow viewers to seek out clues at real-world locations with augmented reality, according to Esola.

“Storytelling is incredibly important at Niantic and we are always looking for interesting ways to expand on the narrative of our real world mobile games,” said “Ingress: The Series” director Spencer McCall in a statement. “Ficto is creating a platform that is a perfect fit for diving deeper into the mystery of Ingress, and we’re looking forward to creating fun and interactive episodes layered into the gameplay experience which players can enjoy on their mobile devices.”

Other content includes:

  • “Represent,” a docu-series that follows the women who are ready to take the sport of surfing to the Olympic stage, even as the 2020 games experiences a rare postponement;
  • “East of La Brea,” executive produced by Paul Feig, a series that tells the untold stories of Los Angeles through the lives of two very different Muslim women from working class backgrounds;
  • “Date & Switch,” a modern dating show with live polling that lets the audience decide who the bachelor or bachelorette chooses;
  • “Brothers From the Suburbs,” a comedy series that chronicles the highs and lows of three African American teenagers coming of age in an affluent, suburban, white, private school community;
  • “Nothingman,” which follows Otis Tremmel, a selfless, community-minded man with a complicated past, is now homeless and living on L.A.’s Skid Row;
  • “Tom & Grant,” about some heartland bank robbers with a bad plan;
  • “Real Artists,” about a young animator in the near future who is offered what should be her dream job, but discovers the truth of the modern “creative” process;
  • “Hermit,” a comedic series that explores the daily life of a woman who hasn’t left her apartment in six months; and
  • “Dakota,” a musical comedy-drama feature film with an all new original soundtrack by international pop-star Phoebe Ryan, who also plays the titular character.

A full roster of available shows can be found on Ficto’s shows page.

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Ficto is among the first streaming services to pay royalties, according to the company release, utilizing blockchain-based smart contracts creating “a radical new transparency payment layer for all parties involved in production.” Ficto automatically pays royalties in directly to artists based on how often their content is viewed, according to the service.

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At the 2020 Sundance Film Festival, the company launched Ficto Studio, designed to work with CMOs, brand marketers, and agencies to help them design immersive brand promotions that leverage Ficto’s interactive capabilities. Ficto’s branded promotional options range from exclusive title or category sponsorship of a series, to custom augmented reality (AR), geo-location, click-to-purchase, product integration, launch events and creator collaborations. Ficto Studio’s custom sponsor programs provide comprehensive performance metrics, including viewer engagement, interactions, social sharing and listening as well as interactive polling to drive instant, two-way dialog with Ficto fans, according to the company.

Quibi Execs Outline Programming and Strategy of Short-Form Content Network

LAS VEGAS — Quibi’s Jeffrey Katzenberg and Meg Whitman at CES on Jan. 8 outlined the strategy, programming, partners, talent and technology for the short-form network, which is launching April 6 at $4.99 a month with ads and $7.99 a month without.

“Today we’re living through another revolution in entertainment, this time on our mobile phones,” said Katzenberg, noting that short-form content under 10 minutes in length is ideal for on-the-go viewing and the millennial audience.

Creators are working with tech experts to make a new form of entertainment designed specifically for mobile, they said.

One innovation is turnstile, a way of recording a story in both full-screen portrait and full-screen landscape so that as viewers turn their phones they get an equally compelling view of the story. Quibi delivers both edits to users’ phones so they can choose which to see by moving from portrait to landscape. Executives demonstrated how the story of “Nest,” one program coming on Quibi, is told through the two edits.

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Katzenberg said there will be three tiers of content: movies told in chapters, episodic and unscripted series and documentaries, and “Daily Essentials.”

Talent for the movie tier includes Bill Murray, Kiefer Sutherland, Sam Raimi (producing a horror anthology), Katherine Hardwick, Lorne Michaels, Kevin Hart and Steven Spielberg, among others.

In the 120 shows in the episodic and unscripted tier, talent includes Chrissy Teigen, Idris Elba and Tyra Banks, with rebooted versions of MTV’s “Punk’d” and “Singled Out” and cooking competitions part of the programming.

The “Daily Essentials” tier will feature the day’s news and info in partnership with NBC News, BBC, TMZ, Telemondo and The Weather Channel. It will also feature a meditation show, a talk show and a round up of late night show highlights.

Whitman noted that the Quibi format will also feature new advertising creative and that the inventory for the first year is sold out at $150 million.

Quibi is “bringing creators and technologists into the same conversation,” she said.

She added that the programming on the service will be 35% more than the prime time lineup of a traditional TV network.

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Disney+ Mobile App Downloaded 15.5 Million Times in First Two Weeks

The Disney+ mobile app has been downloaded 15.5 million times in its first two weeks of availability, according to a Nov. 26 report from Apptopia.

The mobile app has generated $5 million through in-app purchases, according to the company’s estimates. Apptopia revenue data is calculated post app store fees. The numbers don’t include subscribers who downloaded to devices such as Apple TV or Roku.

Disney+ has been ranking No. 1 overall in the U.S. iOS and Google Play app stores since its launch, according to Apptopia. It has been No. 1 in iOS grossing ranks since Nov. 19 and since Nov. 20 on Google Play.

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Australia and New Zealand were able to start watching Disney+ originals such as The Mandalorian Nov. 19. Disney+ has been ranking No. 1 overall in both app stores in both countries since launch.

More Than 40% of U.S. Households Interested in 5G

More than 33% of U.S. broadband households cite some level of familiarity with 5G and more than 40% of U.S. broadband households are interested in 5G, according to new research from Parks Associates.

The report Technology Market Assessment: 5G Network Services examines several aspects of 5G, including the condition of the mobile market, consumer sentiments toward 5G services and products, service availability, use cases, and competition. It explores the impact of 5G on fixed broadband, wireless services, and includes a five-year forecast for 5G and other mobile data services.

“More than half of U.S. broadband households are unfamiliar with 5G, despite aggressive marketing from mobile service providers,” said Craig Leslie, senior research analyst with Parks Associates. “Limited service availability is impacting consumer awareness; however, once the technology is explained to them, almost half are interested in replacing their fixed-line internet service with 5G home services.”

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Limited 5G availability also means that it will not replace 4G LTE or fixed services anytime soon, the firm predicts.

“With spotty coverage, providers will need to run 4G in parallel with 5G services so there is ‘fallback’ connectivity for areas lacking coverage,” according to the firm.

Providers see the need to offer 5G services, though, as their availability is a significant influencer in service provider selection, even if consumers are unwilling to pay more for 5G, according to Parks.

“Beyond higher speed, consumers are failing to see the value of 5G over their current subscriptions — only 13% of smartphone users are willing to pay higher subscriptions fees for 5G mobile services,” Leslie said. “Operators will need to increase consumer understanding through better communicating 5G use cases and benefits in order to convince them to upgrade services.”

Additional research findings include 31% of U.S. broadband households consider 5G availability to be very important when choosing a new mobile service provider and 20% of U.S. broadband households purchased a smartphone in the first quarter of 2019, down from 40% in the first quarter of 2016.