T-Mobile announced today that it’s getting into the television game. The company is planning to launch its own TV service sometime next year. To that end, T-Mobile is acquiring Layer3 TV to help build out its service.
In a video announcing the news, T-Mobile CEO John Legere described the decision as a logical next step for T-Mobile, given the general dissatisfaction of customers with traditional cable TV offerings.
Layer3 TV was built around delivering TV channels by encoding them with IP and broadcasting them over fiber optic cable to Layer3 customers. That means Layer3 TV will be somewhere in between a traditional cable service and an over-the-top service like Sling TV, but there’s presumably no reason it can’t adapt those technologies for fully wireless service.
There aren’t many details on T-Mobile’s service yet, like how much it’ll cost, what channels will be available, or when it will launch. But it will be interesting to see how T-Mobile sells it to customers, given that Legere has spent no small amount of time beating up on AT&T for bundling its own DirecTV Now service with cellular plans.
T-Mobile’s mock up screens for the service shows it integrating live TV and services like Netflix and Hulu, along with a strong social aspect that shows what friends are watching. But it’s still unclear if the final product will look anything like these screens.
T-Mobile isn’t the only cell carrier working on a streaming TV service, either: in addition to AT&T, which launched DirecTV Now last year, Verizon is also working on a streaming service, although the last word on that was that it had been delayed until spring 2018 at the earlier. That’s in addition to the numerous third-party options that are out there like YouTube TV, Sling TV, PlayStation Vue, and Hulu’s live TV service.