T-Mobile unveils plans for US pay TV service


Washington (AFP)

US wireless carrier T-Mobile said Wednesday it would launch a pay TV service in 2018, aiming to disrupt the dominant cable and satellite providers.

The number three US wireless firm, controlled by German-based Deutsche Telekom, said it had acquired Layer3 TV, a startup offering cable and internet service in five cities.

T-Mobile offered no financial terms of the acquisition.

It provided few details of its TV plans, other than a statement saying it would be "tapping into the amazing content available from creators today to disrupt legacy cable and satellite TV's distribution model."

T-Mobile president and chief executive John Legere said the service would be modeled on the telecom group's "Un-carrier model," a term that suggests it will be different from the incumbents.

"People love their TV, but they hate their TV providers," Legere said in a statement.

"And worse, they have no real choice but to simply take it -- the crappy customer service, clunky technology and outrageous bills loaded with fees... We're gonna fix the pain points and bring real choice to consumers across the country."

While Layer3 has a limited footprint, the statement said the tie-up would "take full advantage of T-Mobile's nationwide retail presence."

Jeff Binder, CEO of Layer3, said, "Together with T-Mobile, we're going to ditch everything you hate about cable and make everything you love about TV better."

The move comes with a handful of cable and satellite providers dominating the pay TV sector, with near monopolies in some markets.

T-Mobile hinted that the new TV service may rely on wireless internet, including the upcoming 5G, or fifth generation of networks being built for heavy data usage, and the existing high-speed networks known as LTE.