T-Mobile Closes on Layer3, Won't Bundle Upcoming TV Service
While the streaming industry waits to see what streaming service Verizon will unleash in 2018, T-Mobile wants to remind everyone that it's playing in this space, too, and it intends to do things differently.
The cellular carrier announced today that it has closed on Layer3 TV, a Denver, Colorado-based streaming company. News broke in December that T-Mobile would buy the company, and now the deal has been completed (for an undisclosed purchase price). Layer3 seemed like an odd choice, since it only serves five cities and does so with a connected TV box, not wirelessly. Details from today's announcement, however, show that T-Mobile is planning a TV service that can run over any internet connection, whether physical or wireless. People who live in rural areas outside T-Mobile's coverage area should still be able to get it. Also, T-Mobile purchased Layer3 partly for its connections to broadcasters: "Layer3 TV already has access and relationships with hundreds of channels, and we intend to leverage those relationships to build future offerings," T-Mobile says.
Surprisingly, people won't need to subscribe to T-Mobile's wireless service to get the upcoming TV offering. While other carriers offer bundles and use entertainment services as a way to differentiate themselves, T-Mobile says its service will be open to everyone.
“We know people love their TV, but hate their TV providers," says John Legere, president and CEO of T-Mobile. “I can’t wait to take the fight to Big Cable and Satellite TV on behalf of consumers everywhere!”
Those interested can sign up to learn when the TV service is available. So far, T-Mobile is only saying it will launch sometime this year.
While mobile video viewing is on the rise, unlimited data plans no longer get subscribers to switch. Carriers now offer OTT services as extras.
While the details are scarce, T-Mobile seems intent on launching its own skinny bundle, and it thinks Layer3 can help make it a reality.
At the TV of Tomorrow conference, panelists took stock of the changing ways viewers get their media, and noted that not all changes are for the better.