T-Mobile rebranded the Layer3 company that was purchased to launch a live TV streaming service. This newly rebranded Tvision service is similar to Layer3 requiring a box and available only in a handful of US markets.
Now T-Mobile TV’s website redirects users to Tvision, and T-Mobile has been extremely quiet about any planned skinny bundle to take on services like YouTube TV and PlayStation Vue.
There is good and bad news. T-Mobile TV as a skinny bundle may not be dead, but it may not be what many expected.
Here is what we know about T-Mobile TV right now:
In January, T-Mobile’s COO Mike Sievert said that T-Mobile TV would come out before T-Mobile’s 5G. He went on to say that T-Mobile TV and T-Mobile home Internet would go hand in hand when 5G rolls out.
Jump forward to February 2019, when T-Mobile’s COO reportedly told LightReading that “T-Mobile has no plans to come out with an ‘undifferentiated’ skinny TV bundle.”
“There are plenty of those … It’s subscription-palooza out there,” T-Mobile’s Sievert said. “Every single brand has or is developing an OTT solution.”
Jump forward to April 2019 and T-Mobile announced a deal with Viacom for a new TV service.
“We are thrilled to join forces with T-Mobile on a new entertainment service that represents an important evolution in how audiences consume our content,” said Bob Bakish, Viacom president and CEO. “Today’s landmark announcement marks a major step forward in our strategy to accelerate the presence of our brands on mobile and other next-generation platforms, and we’re so excited to partner with T-Mobile to provide millions of subscribers with access to our networks and more choice in a new service that will be unlike any other in the market.”
Sadly, since the Viacom deal we have not heard anything about new partnerships with content owners to join T-Mobile’s new TV service.
Why is T-Mobile TV delayed?
We don’t know exactly why T-Mobile TV is delayed but according to a report from 2018, T-Mobile was struggling to strike deals. According to regulatory documents T-Mobile filed they have to pay 20% to 30% more for TV content. That would mean T-Mobile would have to charge $10 more than services like YouTube TV and PlayStation Vue to offer the same channels.
According to sources Cord Cutters News has talked to inside the TV industry the most complicated part of a TV service is the contracts. Many services take years to strike TV deals. Many streaming services work on deals years before a new service launches. T-Mobile tried to do it all in less than a year.
It seems that AT&T had hoped to use Layer3 deals to launch the service. After looking at the cost, they have decided to try and strike new deals with content companies like Viacom.
T-Mobile has also said that they needed the Sprint merger to go through to have the customer numbers needed to strike better deals.
When will T-Mobile TV launch?
T-Mobile TV could still surprise us, but it is starting to look like it will not launch in 2019. With the Sprint merger with T-Mobile approved by both the DOJ and FCC it now goes to the courts as multiple states have sued to block the service.
It is likely we won’t see anything from T-Mobile TV until the lawsuit trying to block T-Mobile and Sprint gets resolved.
We will have to wait for T-Mobile TV as T-Mobile works on its 5G network and its merger with Sprint.
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