Mobile Pay TV Coming in 2018

Image Bizuayehu Tesfaye  AP  REX  Shutterstock

Image Bizuayehu Tesfaye AP REX Shutterstock

This morning, the fiery wireless carrier announced that they have acquired Layer3 TV and plan to use its technology to launch a TV service in 2018. "We're gonna fix the pain points and bring real choice to consumers across the country", said John Legere, president and CEO of T-Mobile in a press release.

But T-Mobile's confident it'll be able to persuade the estimated 1.6 million subscribers who left traditional cable companies in the first half of 2017.

Layer3 TV operates in many, but not all, US cable markets, selling HD cable service and internet access, either a la carte or bundled. For instance, many T-Mobile wireless customers are getting Netflix for free. Given that, unlike AT&T, Verizon, Dish, Comcast and others, T-Mobile doesn't offer home internet, whatever TV service T-Mobile offers will likely be heavily optimized for its T-Mobile ONE plan, which means plenty of downsampling to 480p over LTE connections.

On a Wednesday conference call T-Mobile executives said the deal is the next phase of T-Mobile's strategy for mobile video.

T-Mobile CEO John Legere was quick to take aim at the historically terrible customer service and satisfaction ratings that have plagued the traditional cable sector for the better part of a generation.

T-Mobile is promising that its new pay TV service will "ditch everything you hate about cable and make everything you love about TV better". At the time, Layer3 said it planed to create 300 jobs over the next several years.

In addition to the IPTV technology, Layer3 has also taken a modern approach to putting together a TV service in this day and age of Netflix, YouTube, Hulu, and Amazon Prime Video.

"T-Mobile is the only wireless carrier [that's] growing".

So, seeing an opportunity to make a name for itself by shaking things up a bit, T-Mobile is going to enter the TV business.

T-Mobile's effort is a clear shot against AT&T, which offers its DirecTV Now streaming option. If the price is right, especially when combined with cell service, T-Mobile could have a hit on its hands.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

In its announcement, T-Mobile gave few details about the future TV offering - everything from the available channels to its cost, or if it will be available on competing platforms like Apple TV via an app.

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