T-Mobile is going to "un-carrier" your TV.
The US carrier has been using "un-carrier" as a marketing campaign for the past four years as a way to differentiate itself from other carriers, like Verizon or AT&T, which were known to force its customers into strict, two-year contracts with subsidised phones and all sorts of fees. Now, it's using that slogan to promote its new TV streaming service.
That's right. And here's what you need to know about it.
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Why is T-Mobile launching a TV streaming service?
Big cable is the absolute worst
T-Mobile CEO John Legere posted a video on 13 December (via T-Mobile's YouTube account) to announce his company wants to take on big cable and satellite TV providers, like Comcast and Charter, which he said are part of the No. 1 most hated industry in the US. "It's no secret that these guys are the absolute worst," Legere teased in the video.
He said eight of the 10 most hated brands are cable and TV providers. As a result, they've lost 1.6 million subscribers in the first half of 2017 alone, and 2.8 million people have cut the cord (aka ditched their cable package) in the past two years. But that doesn't mean Americans aren't watching TV anymore. They're just not watching cable.
Mobile is how millennials watch TV
According to Legere, how we watch TV is undergoing a transformation: Mobile is the preferred way millennials watch TV, and 94 per cent of US households now pay for some form of TV, up 89 per cent from last year. Streaming services like Netflix are absolutely surging in popularity, adding 22.5 million subscribers globally last year.
American adults spend five hours a day watching TV. They love and want to watch TV; they just don't want it from big cable. Enter: T-Mobile. It acquired Layer3, a TV technology company, with the purpose of launching its own TV streaming service. Legere said the move will help T-Mobile complete its long-term un-carrier strategy.
What is Layer3?
Layer3's TV service, which integrates television, online video content, and social media, is available in five cities across the US. It delivers TV channels by encoding them with IP and broadcasting them over fiber optic cable. It's basically a mix of a traditional cable service and an over-the-top service like Sling TV.
T-Mobile expects its acquisition of Layer3 to close in the "coming weeks", so end of December or early January 2018.
How will T-Mobile's TV streaming service work?
No long-term contracts or quad-play packages
It's early days still, but Legere spent a lengthy amount of time dissing standard cable packages in his video announcing T-Mobile's streaming service. He mocked how cable and satellite TV providers lock their customers into long-term contracts and throw bogus things like triple-play and quad-play packages into the mix.
"Requiring a landline just to get a better price on cable? It's complete bullshit," he said. He also criticised exploding bundles, confusing sky-high bills, hidden fees, and the fact that Americans have no real choices. Legere claimed the average cable bill has gone up 48 per cent since 2010, so we're forced to overpay for traditional TV.
Built for the mobile age
Legere repeated that we're in a mobile age and that we should be able to watch what we want, when we want, where we want. T-Mobile's TV streaming service will work on a multitude of devices, including phones and tablets and any other connected device you use. He also said T-Mobile's service is going to be built for people who love TV.
In doing so, he showed - what we assume is - an early preview of the upcoming TV streaming service on a mocked-up, big-screen TV. From what we could see, there are four screens you'll be able to navigate through: My Stuff, Browse, DVR, and Settings, as well as a home screen that showcases a range of available services on a carousel.
Check it out:
What will T-Mobile's TV streaming service offer?
Third-party services and apps
In the preview that Legere showed off, we could see a range of services and apps will be made available through T-Mobile's TV streaming service, including Showtime, A&E, Hulu, Netflix, HGTV, and Discovery Go, to name a few. It reminded us a lot of Roku and how you can access many different apps through that platform.
Live TV and DVR
And finally, from T-Mobile's video, we also saw brief clips that suggested T-Mobile's TV streaming service will offer live video and DVR. Keep in mind over-the-top services, like PlayStation Vue and Sling TV, also offer those features.
When will T-Mobile launch its TV streaming service?
T-Mobile will launch its TV streaming service sometime in 2018.
Where will T-Mobile's TV streaming service be available?
At launch, T-Mobile's TV streaming service will be available in the US.
How much will T-Mobile's TV streaming service cost?
T-Mobile has not yet announced pricing.