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T-Mobile is going after cable companies with its own TV streaming service

It's scheduled to be released in 2018, though details are thin.


Phillip Tracy


Posted on Dec 13, 2017   Updated on May 22, 2021, 8:07 am CDT

T-Mobile is the latest company attempting to disrupt the TV industry.

The mobile provider announced an upcoming TV service alongside the acquisition of cable startup Layer3 TV. The platform, set to be released in 2018, won’t focus on creating original content, like Hulu or Netflix, but will instead go after Comcast and Charter, offering a mix of cable TV, streaming apps, and online content.

In a promo video, T-Mobile CEO John Legere explains how the company wants to transform the most-hated industry in America after claiming to have fixed the second-most, referring to mobile providers.

“It’s no secret these guys are the absolute worst. They treat their customers so poorly that people post about 4,000 complaints about them on social media every single day,” Legere said.

Details about the TV service are scarce, and those we do know are somewhat vague. Given Legere’s outspoken criticism of contracts, it’s safe to say T-Mobile will let you bail out of the program whenever you choose. Or, in the words of the unfiltered chief, it’s going to “un-carrier that shit.”

In its press release, the company also calls out “sky-high prices” and “exploding bundles.” With other streaming platforms driving down prices, we should expect T-Mobile to charge much less than legacy cable providers.

It’s unclear how T-Mobile will package its content or integrate it into its mobile plan. We also don’t know when it will launch, what channels will be offered, where it will be available, and what connection it will rely on for streaming.

We do know Layer3 TV isn’t like other new TV platforms like YouTube TV, which rely on the internet connection of customers. It uses its own fiber-optics to get its own IP network into communities, then employs an internet protocol to transmit it into individual homes. That means customers don’t have to rely on the speed and stability of their own Wi-Fi, a problem that has held back other services like Sling.

T-Mobile says the acquisition of Layer3 TV is expected to complete in the coming weeks. Hopefully, we will learn more soon, so we can compare it to the growing list of live TV providers.

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*First Published: Dec 13, 2017, 7:37 pm CST