Verizon has significantly upgraded its Disney+ bundle, including both Hulu and ESPN+ for select plans.
Verizon made headlines when it bundled a year of Disney’s new Disney+ streaming service for upper tier plans. The company is now expanding that to include the ad-supported Hulu plan, as well as ESPN+.
“Our new Mix & Match plans make the choice clearer than ever: customers get the best network and the best value with Verizon,” said Frank Boulben, SVP Marketing and Products of Verizon Consumer Group. “We led the industry by giving customers Disney+ on us. Now we’re adding The Disney Bundle, which includes Disney+, Hulu and ESPN+, for more entertainment choices that appeal to a variety of interests. We can’t wait to see what customers choose to suit their needs.”
“The addition of The Disney Bundle to our agreement with Verizon reinforces our commitment to providing their subscribers with access to high-quality entertainment from Disney+, Hulu and ESPN+,” said Sean Breen, EVP, Platform Distribution, The Walt Disney Company. “We are always looking for the most advantageous ways for consumers to experience our content and we are pleased to work with Verizon so that they can provide their customers with these appealing new offers.”
Verizon also took the opportunity to speak, albeit briefly, about their upcoming nationwide 5G network. According to the company, all of its new Mix & Match plans will support nationwide 5G, which it says is coming this year—although there were no dates given.
Verizon is currently the only one of the three major carriers to not have a nationwide 5G network. T-Mobile is currently in the lead, in terms of coverage, with AT&T in second place. In contrast, Verizon opted early on to focus almost exclusively on the high-band mmWave variety of 5G. This flavor is exceptionally fast, but offers limited range and poor building penetration. As a result, it is only suitable for cities and densely populated areas where base stations can be installed every couple of hundred meters.
At the root of the problem is Verizon’s lack of available low and mid-band spectrum. T-Mobile used its 600 MHz spectrum for its nationwide network, while AT&T used its 850 MHz spectrum. Verizon’s 700 MHz spectrum is tied up with its 4G LTE network. As a result, the company has been looking at Dynamic Spectrum Sharing (DSS) to share it’s low-band spectrum between LTE and 5G networks, using DSS to switch back and forth depending on what type of device is currently accessing the tower. Unfortunately, while a good idea on paper, DSS has faced its fair share of criticism and issues.
With Verizon so far behind in the 5G race, one can’t help but wonder if its increased bundling is an effort to add value for its customers, and keep them from defecting, while it plays catchup.