AT&T will offer Hulu to its customers, but it isn't free

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Update: A Hulu representative reached out to clarify the AT&T partnership.

"Through the AT&T apps and websites, AT&T video customers will be able to see clips and select short form content (similar to the free content we have on today). They will be able to search and browse through the entire Hulu content in the app. If they’d like to view subscription content they’ll be linked out to Hulu (either the app or website) to view it. From there, new subscribers will be able to subscribe to Hulu and existing subscribers will sign in."

Looks like Verizon is not the only wireless carrier making headlines this week.

On Wednesday, AT&T announced it has reached a deal to provide its customers with some access to Hulu, the streaming service with a large catalog of both current and previous episodes of TV shows from ABC, NBC, Fox, Cartoon Network, Comedy Central, FX, Nickelodeon and MTV. According to the press release, the Hulu content will be made available later this year.

Under the deal, AT&T customers will be able to stream Hulu’s offerings on a dedicated AT&T website, as well as AT&T built mobile apps. Furthermore AT&T and Hulu are working on a forthcoming Hulu app for smart TVs, and according to TechCrunch, AT&T is also considering offering Hulu alongside other AT&T services with bundled pricing.

Currently, a monthly subscription to Hulu costs $8 and comes with some video advertising. Hulu is available on desktop, as well as on a bevy of mobile and TV apps on iOS, Android, Apple TV, Kindle Fire, Roku and Xbox.

It remains unclear whether there will be any limitations on which TV shows or episodes will be made available on this free AT&T-enabled tier, or if only certain AT&T customers will qualify for a Hulu subscription with their phone plan.      

The story behind the story: With Google’s announcement that it will launch its own cell phone service, and with Facebook looking to become a communications utility for over a billion people, it’s no surprise that wireless carriers feel that their core businesses are under siege.

Earlier this week AT&T’s biggest rival, Verizon, announced it was acquiring AOL as a way to boost its digital and video offerings. Similarly, AT&T is bringing Hulu content to its customers to keep them glued to their screens. Last month Time reported that   AT&T was going to spend $500 million to create its own video streaming service to “crush Netflix and Hulu.” You know what they say: keep your enemies close.

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