T-Mobile unveiled an overhauled version of its TVision television service on Tuesday morning, along with a new TV streaming device, launching a new challenge to the cable industry and jumping into a crowded and competitive field of video platforms.
The revamped TV service is one of the first big competitive moves by the Bellevue, Wash., based wireless carrier following the completion of its $26.5 billion merger with Sprint earlier this year. It’s part of T-Mobile’s broader push beyond traditional wireless services, which also includes a move into 5G home Internet service.
Packages include a collection of live news and sports channels for $40/month, including ESPN, Fox, Disney and others, with additional content at higher tiers, up to $60/month total. A package of 30 entertainment channels such as AMC, BET, HGTV and others starts at $10/month.
TVision will be available via dedicated apps on Apple TV, Android TV, and Amazon Fire TV boxes, in addition to apps for Android and iOS devices. The TVision HUB device and remote control will sell for $50. It’s an Android TV device, which plugs in via HDMI, allowing users to access TVision and other services.
T-Mobile CEO Mike Sievert, the longtime T-Mobile executive who took the helm of the company earlier this year, continued the trash-talking tradition started by his predecessor, John Legere, in the announcement Tuesday morning, taking a series of competitive jabs at the big cable companies.
“If ever there was an industry that needed an Un-carrier overhaul, it’s cable and satellite TV,” Sievert said, using the company’s term for its disruptive moves in the wireless industry. “I mean, it’s no secret why these companies are dying, they treat their customers so badly.”
The announcement plays into a larger shift by consumers away from traditional cable packages and toward smaller packages of channels and streaming services. In addition to trying to siphon its share of customers from cable companies, T-Mobile will be going head-to-head against similar live TV and streaming services such as Google’s YouTube TV, Hulu with Live TV, Dish Network’s Sling TV, and AT&T’s TV Now.
T-Mobile compared its $50/month TVision Live TV+ service (with sports channels including NFL Network) to the standard $65/month YouTube TV plan. However, YouTube TV offers additional perks such as unlimited cloud DVR storage, while T-Mobile limits cloud DVR storage to 100 hours.
One of T-Mobile’s competitive advantages is its network of stores across the country, which the company says will sell and support the TVision service.
The new TVision is set to launch in phases starting Nov. 1, beginning with T-Mobile postpaid wireless customers, before becoming generally available next year.
It’s a successor to a higher-priced offering that the company launched last year based on technology from Layer3 TV, the Denver-based company that T-Mobile acquired for $325 million in late 2017.
[T-Mobile CEO Mike Sievert will join us at the GeekWire Summit later this week for a conversation about T-Mobile and the future of tech and telecom.]