T-Mobile: Mobile TV service from Layer3 won’t launch until next year

Layer3 TV in T-Mobile store (Mike Dano / FierceWireless)
T-Mobile is offering Layer3 TV services in its store in Longmont, Colorado. (Mike Dano/FierceWireless)

Ever since acquiring the company late last year, T-Mobile’s executives have been promising that the company will launch some type of TV service from Layer3 TV this year.

However, during the company’s earnings call, Mike Sievert disclosed that the TV service that T-Mobile launches this year won’t be portable—instead, it will only be available in a fixed location, likely a user’s home.

“We have our heads down creating the first TV service for the 5G era,” boasted T-Mobile’s Sievert of the carrier’s acquisition of Layer3 TV. He said the offering would free users from a cable box and provide them with “hundreds of high definition choices,” and would ultimately connect their TV with their social, digital and mobile life.”

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“The journey will start later this year. We're very excited about that,” Sievert said. “And the second phase of the journey, next year, will be expanding into mobile. Because 5G is about mobility, not just fixed.”

Added Sievert, "The TV service will also follow, with a mobile TV service next year."

Sievert’s comments add another layer of nuance to T-Mobile’s TV plans. T-Mobile purchased Layer3 TV late last year and company executives have repeatedly promised to launch a TV service based on Layer3’s offerings sometime this year. That service is expected to be branded as “T-Mobile TV” and is rumored to be scheduled for a November unveiling.

Indeed, T-Mobile is currently selling TV services from Layer3 in four different cities, including Longmont, Colorado. Earlier this month the company was selling Layer3 TV services in a Longmont store for $90 per month for customers who already subscribed to T-Mobile’s service, or $110 per month for customers who do not subscribe to T-Mobile’s service. The offering included DVR services and a variety of channels including local channels, though not premium channels like Cinemax and HBO.

It’s not clear how different “T-Mobile TV” might be from Layer3’s existing TV services. But the fact that T-Mobile is currently selling Layer3 TV services in Longmont and three other markets in the United States may well indicate that T-Mobile’s forthcoming service won’t be much different than Layer3’s existing service—particularly given Layer3’s existing TV service is not portable.

T-Mobile’s promise to offer mobile TV next year is noteworthy considering the company earlier this year shuttered the “T-Mobile TV” app powered by MobiTV that it had offered for more than a decade. That app offered streaming access to dozens of live TV channels.

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