Mobile to acquire Layer3 TV, launch 'disruptive' video service next year

Posted December 14, 2017

T-Mobile US said on December 13 that it had agreed to buy internet TV provider Layer3 TV for an undisclosed amount and would launch a new television service in 2018.

In a blog post and companion video, T-Mobile said that it "the Un-carrier will build TV for people who love TV but are exhausted of the multi-year service contracts, confusing sky-high bills, exploding bundles, clunky technologies, outdated UIs, closed systems and lousy customer service of today's traditional TV providers".

T-Mobile has made a name for itself trying to "disrupt" the mobile industry over the past few years, and now it's looking to do the same to big cable.

T-Mobile's TV service will be offered as part of a package, company executives said, but will also give customers several options. T-Mobile has since moved to offer only unlimited-usage plans to new customers.

As you can imagine, today's announcement was filled with talk of the TV industry being terrible and how traditional cable companies are awful to their customers. The first is that T-Mobile is going to focus heavily on mobile TV and utilize its cellular network to make a point of delivering content to mobile phones. T-Mobile CEO John Legere railed against bundles, "clunky" technologies, closed systems, and awful customer service.

As for Layer3 TV, the company operates in five US cities by integrating television, streaming online content and social media, according to T-Mobile.

T-Mobile says it will provide Layer3 TV's video service over its nationwide 4G wireless network.

As now in play in Denver (where T-Mobile is based), LA, Chicago, Washington, DC. and Dallas/Ft Worth, Layer3TV is "not a skinny bundle by any stretch", assessed Variety's media tracker Todd Spangler. It's only available in a handful of markets (I'm not in one), but T-Mobile can help it reach more customers, obviously. Layer3's TV packages now start at $75 per month.

The wireless carrier showed off a video clip showcasing a mockup of its TV service's user interface, which is (unsurprisingly) extremely pink. "Why did T-Mobile decide they needed their own service?" said Craig Moffett, an industry analyst at MoffettNathanson, in a research note Wednesday.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.