T-Mobile US Inc. is launching a TV service next year, becoming the latest company to marry wireless and video.
The service will target people who aren't interested in traditional cable and satellite TV packages. T-Mobile promises to address consumer complaints such as “sky-high bills” and “exploding bundles.” The company did not provide details on its upcoming offering, such as how it would differ from existing online TV alternatives from Hulu, YouTube, Sony, AT&T and Dish.
The nation's No. 3 wireless carrier said Wednesday that it bought cable-TV start-up Layer3 TV Inc. to help it roll out its upcoming service.
T-Mobile didn't disclose how much it paid for Denver-based Layer3, which is available in five U.S. cities, including Los Angeles.
T-Mobile's reputation for shaking up the wireless industry could give it leverage with consumers in an already crowded online-TV market. T-Mobile is known for largely getting rid of two-year phone contracts and helping bring back unlimited-data plans in wireless. The strategy has helped it gain customers for years, even as growth in the industry has slowed overall because most Americans already have cellphones.
T-Mobile has already taken steps to connect its wireless business to video as the telecom, tech and media industries grow closer together. For instance, many T-Mobile wireless customers receive access to Netflix at no additional charge.
AT&T's streaming service is called DirecTV Now, which AT&T discounts in bundles with wireless plans. It also throws in HBO for cellphone customers with unlimited plans. Cable company Comcast, the owner of NBCUniversal, launched a cellphone business this year. Media conglomerate Disney is working on new streaming services that could rival Netflix, bypassing traditional cable TV and going straight to consumers.
Noon: This article was updated throughout with additional details and background information.
This article was originally published at 10:45 a.m.