Today, T-Mobile, the self described un-carrier, has revealed plans to launch its own online TV service in 2018. The telco has signed a definitive agreement to acquire TV technology innovator Layer3 TV, Inc. (“Layer3 TV”) and will work with Layer3 TV’s technology and talent to create T-Mobile’s new TV service.
In a blog post released this morning, the company announced that its new service is geared “for people who love TV but are tired of the multi-year service contracts, confusing sky-high bills, exploding bundles, and clunky technologies.”
“We’re in the midst of the Golden Age of TV, and yet people have never been more frustrated by the status quo created by Big Cable and Satellite TV,” explained Mike Sievert, Chief Operating Officer of T-Mobile. “That’s because the world is changing – with mobile video, streaming services, cord cutting, original content and more — and yet, the old guard simply can’t – or won’t – evolve. It’s time for a disruptor to shake things up and give people real choice like only the Un-carrier can.”
The terms of the deal between T-Mobile and Layer3 TV were not disclosed nor was the expected content lineup for the mobile carrier’s new service. But the company did say it would be “tapping into the amazing content available from creators today,” which could mean a majority of its offering will be influencer based.
T-Mobile’s push into TV comes at a time when many consumers are opting out of their traditional pay-TV subscriptions for a more customized “skinny bundle” offering. In response to the change in viewing habits, many companies who own traditional cable/satellite outlets have introduced their version of the “skinny bundle.” One of the earliest OTT TV services was DISH’s Sling TV, which launched in 2015 and has slowly gained popularity among cord-cutters and cord-nevers. AT&T also threw its hat in the ring by launching its own version of internet TV in late 2016 called DirecTV Now — the service recently hit 1 million subs. And just this year, YouTube, Hulu and Philo — a newer contender in the OTT space — launched their own live TV service.
However, despite the rush to jump into the OTT TV market, it hasn’t been a smooth ride for everyone. Telco giant Verizon has had several setbacks since announcing its plans to launch a streaming TV service back in March. Originally expected to be launched this year, the company is said to now be aiming for a spring 2018 launch date, marking yet another delay as it struggles to find a way to compete with the many existing services on the market.