Joining the ranks of Sling TV, PlayStation Vue, Hulu and Netflix, T-Mobile has announced plans to launch its own premium streaming TV service in 2018.
As reported by GeekWire, the mobile carrier is currently in the process of acquiring Layer3 TV, which it will use to launch its own paid TV service.
Available only in a handful of cities — Chicago, Los Angeles and Washington D.C. —
Layer3 TV isn’t a traditional TV streaming service. It uses a separate internet protocol-encoded fiber optics line to deliver content to customers. This means customers can take advantage of fast download speeds without slowing down their existing home internet connection. In 2016, Layer3 TV CEO Jeff Binder said the service is capable of transmitting high-definition (HD) video using a bandwidth of just 4 Mbps.
T-Mobile CEO John Legere announced the acquisition of Layer3 TV in a press release, saying it will revolutionize the TV industry. So, how much will T-Mobile’s new TV service cost? Unfortunately, T-Mobile has yet to confirm pricing or features. Executives for the wireless carrier, however, said the service will offer different package tiers. In other words, customers can pay more for a package with more channels or less for a package with fewer channels. This model is similar to that of Sling TV and DirecTV Now.
Additionally, T-Mobile’s new service will offer DVR, allowing customers to record their favorite programs for viewing at a later time. Lack of DVR is frequently cited as being a major pitfall of streaming TV services. With cable and satellite, customers can easily record shows using a DVR box. This isn’t an option with most streaming services, though. But T-Mobile plans to offer a cloud-based DVR for customers of its new service, which will function the same as a physical DVR box. The only difference is that content is stored on the cloud instead of on local hardware.
News of this comes at a time when millions of Americans are ditching cable TV in favor of cheaper streaming TV services. According to Variety, 22.2 million U.S. adults will cut the cord in 2017. This number is up from 16.7 million in 2015. With T-Mobile working on a new service, we’ll likely see even more consumers canceling their cable and satellite TV services.