Dumping on Comcast, Time Warner Cable, DirectTV, DISH and their kin as "the most hated companies in America," T-Mobile's pugnacious President and CEO John Legere vowed Wednesday to take them on with a new pay TV alternative to launch in 2018.
"We're going to fix the pain points and bring real choice to consumers," he said, citing a claimed 4,000 negative comments posted daily about cable and satellite TV providers.
Building on its about-to-be-acquired startup Layer3 TV, now available in five markets, the planned T-Mobile service extends on its prior offerings of "unlimited" pay music services and Netflix to phone subscribers, but T-M TV will not be limited to T-Mobile's network.
"It'll work on any internet connected device you have and any internet connection you have," said the company. The service enters an already crowded field of broadband-streamed "over the top" or "virtual" TV services, including AT&T's DirecTV Now, Dish Network's Sling TV, Google's YouTube, Hulu's live service, Sony's PlayStation Vue, Philo and FuboTV.
As currently in play in Denver (where Layer3 TV 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. The $75 base package offers more than 275 "all HD" channels , the ability to capture up to eight shows at once with a cloud based DVR feature and access to apps, including YouTube, Facebook, iHeartRadio and Pandora. But the un-named, contract-free version T-Mobile at its retail locations will introduce "something new" and most likely cheaper which "seamlessly integrates the best of television, streaming online video content and social media," said a company statement.