T-Mobile Amps to Launch a TV Streaming Service in 2018

“We are going to redefine a stupid, broken, arrogant industry!”

- John Legere, T-Mobile CEO


Hyped as at the Un-Carrier, T-Mobile is all set to launch a TV streaming service sometime in 2018. The news came out on Wednesday when the company announced its intention to plunge into the TV streaming industry in 2018. Toward that end, T-Mobile is acquiring Layer3 to help assist in the building of the service.

T-Mobile CEO John Legere said it was a logical decision and the next step for T-Mobile. He pointed out the general and growing dissatisfaction that consumers have with their cable TVs. He blurted out some hard facts about the cable TV industry and vowed to fight the Un-Carrier battle on behalf of their consumers.

Here are some major takeaways on the industry bottlenecks, as enumerated by Legere:

  • The cable TV industry is the least liked consumer service in the USA
  • Consumers send out more than 4,000 daily complaints about their cable TV carrier on social media every day
  • Eight out of the Top 10 biggest brands with the lowest trust from customers are Cable TV operators, as enunciated by the American Consumer Satisfaction Index
  • 8 million cable TV subscribers have cut the cord in the past two years

“People want their TV. They just don’t want it from big cable. And that’s where we come in,” said Legere in a major takeaway.

Layer3 Acquisition

A big stakeholder in T-Mobile’s Un-Carrier is Layer3. Layer3 has been delivering IP encoded TV channels and broadcasting them to customers over fiber optic media. That places Layer3 in the sweet spot between a traditional cable provider and an OTT service like Sling TV. But we are presuming that Layer3 is also fully ready to delve into those parts and bring around a fully wireless service.

While Layer3 is available in limited US markets only, it integrates the best of television by streaming social media and online video content. T-Mobile hopes that the acquisition will help them power Layer3’s technology into all the amazing content that we have today.

At the moment, little detail about the T-Mobile service. We do not yet have a confirmation about the date of launch, available channels, or even the cost. But it will be interesting to follow how T-Mobile will pitch the service to customers from here on. It is remarkable that Legere has spent considerable R&D in building the DirecTV Now service that also has cellular plans.

The screen mockups for the T-Mobile service give a hint of integration of services like Netflix and Hulu with a strong social aspect. This should tentatively allow users to also see what their friends are watching. However, it is not clear at this point whether the final screens will look anything like the mocks.

TV Streaming: More are Coming

It is worth noting that T-Mobile is not the solo cell carrier of TV services either. In the past, AT&T has already come out with DirecTV Now last year. As T-Mobile pitches to become the next disruptor of the game, even Verizon is developing a TV streaming service of its own. But we have news that the Verizon project has been delayed until spring 2018. Additionally, we already have options such as Sling TV, YouTube, PlayStation Vue, and Hulu.

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