In the next few months we're going to see some sort of streaming TV deal from U.S. mobile carrier T-Mobile. Exactly what it's going to look like is still very much up in the air to those of us on the subscriber side of the equation.
But we got a small peek behind the curtain during TMo's fourth-quarter 2018 earnings call. We still don't know what such a service will look like, or what it will cost, but we sort of got a peek around the edges.
"We don't have plans to develop an 'nth' undifferentiated skinny bundle. There are plenty of those."
The context revolves a bit around T-Mobile purchasing Layer3, which offers a home television service. (Here's a good look at that from Fierce Wireless.)
J.P. Morgan's Philip Cusick asked the following question during the Q&A: "It's been great to partner with Netflix — does it still make sense to create your own video bundle?"
Replied T-Mobile COO and President Mike Sievert: "It does, yes. When you think about our TV strategy, there's two pieces to it."
Sievert went on to recap the company's plans for a home television service, which was delayed from 2018 to sometime in the first half of 2018.
"We're not date-driven when it comes to the home part of the strategy," Sievert said on the call. "We're quality-driven. We did launch in four cities a predecessor product under the Layer3 TV brand. We're getting great learnings from customers, great feedback about features they'd like to see, and we decided to develop those features, and some additional quality improvements, before rebranding and rolling out that home product."
So there's that. More interesting, though, is what T-Mobile has planned on the mobile side of things. Phones are and will continue to be a big deal. But don't look for T-Mobile to just do T-MoTV or some other sort of white-labeled TV service.
"It's subscription-palooza out there," Sievert continued. "Every single media brand either has or is developing an OTT solution, and most of these companies don't have a way to bring these products to market. They're learning about that. They don't have distribution networks like us. They don't have access to the phones like we have. And we think that we can play a role ... at bringing these worlds of media and the rest of your digital and social life together. Helping you choose the subscriptions that make sense. Billing for those things. Search and discovery of content. We think there's a big role for our brand to play in helping you."
That's definitely something different than what we've seen from Verizon in the past and AT&T's current lineup with its DirecTV brand. The devil's in the details, though. Pricing and execution will matter.
But you'd better believe T-Mobile will come at its video product with its usual level of hype. No, whatever it does will most certainly stand out.
"We don't have plans to develop an 'nth' undifferentiated skinny bundle," Sievert said. "There are plenty of those. We think there's a more nuanced role for us to play in helping you get access to the great media brands out there that you love, and to be able to put together your own media subscription in smaller pieces — $5, $6, $7, $8 at a time.
"It's an exciting future for us."
We may earn a commission for purchases using our links. Learn more.
‘Defending Jacob’ cast and creators to take part in a Variety Q&A on July 1
The cast and crew of hit Apple TV+ show "Defending Jacob" will take part in an exclusive Q&A session with Variety on July 1.
This new Apple TV+ 'Dads' trailer will warm your heart and drench your eyes
Father's day is just around the corner and Apple TV+ documentary "Dads" is coming along for the ride. This new trailer gives us a look at what to expect and it looks pretty great.
Judge dismisses lawsuit against Apple TV+ show 'Servant'
A lawsuit filed against Apple and M. Night Shyamalan over Apple TV+ show 'Servant' has been dismissed.
Looking for the best shows on CuriosityStream? We've got you covered
With multiple award-winning documentaries in its library, CuriosityStream's got content to suit just about anyone. If you aren't sure where to start, we've compiled a few of the best shows the service has to offer