Mobile Jumps Into the TV Business, Will Challenge Cable

Cesar Mills
December 14, 2017

T-Mobile's reputation for shaking up the wireless industry could give it leverage with consumers in an already crowded online-TV market. Layer3 TV provides television service, online video and social media in five cities across the U.S. T-Mobile's promotional video also prominently includes both Netflix and Hulu, though it includes a footnote warning that this is a "demo of possible service" and that the "final product may vary". 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.

What would T-Mobile's TV service need to offer to get you interested?

T-Mobile's effort is a clear shot against AT&T, which offers its DirecTV Now streaming option. "[We're] about to "un-carrier" your TV". Legere said the company's move is the latest in its "uncarrier", which it claims offers customers wha they want without conventional constraints of competitors.

The so-called "concierge" cable service was founded by former cable executive Binder in 2013 and has been slowly rolling out a very traditional-looking pay TV service that emphasizes premium technology and customer service.

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T-Mobile didn't disclose terms of its purchase of Layer3, which will keep its base in Denver. The country's third largest mobile carrier has confirmed that it's getting into the TV game. AT&T started online TV service DirecTV and now has over 1 million subscribers, but it's recent acquisition for Time Warner was blocked the Department of Justice saying that it'll create an unfair advantage. Verizon secured expanded rights this week from the National Football League to stream live football games to mobile devices.

"It's going to make things interesting", said Roger Entner, an analyst with Recon Analytics.

T-Mobile Chief Financial Officer Braxton Carter said last week at an investor conference that the company would now focus on smaller, "tuck-in" acquisitions. That's a hell of a task, but yeah, T-Mobile did it with wireless for a while and might be able to help in cable.

Information from Bloomberg News is included in this report.

Other reports by GizPress

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