T-Mobile pay TV service launching in first half of 2019

Layer3 TV in T-Mobile store (Mike Dano / FierceWireless)
Layer3 TV at T-Mobile store. (Mike Dano/FierceWireless)

T-Mobile’s upcoming pay TV service—built out of the company’s Layer3 TV acquisition—has been delayed, but now a launch date is in sight.

T-Mobile Chief Operating Officer Mike Sievert said the service is going to launch in the first half of 2019. The company had originally planned to launch the service last year but pushed back the date.

T-Mobile has already launched a predecessor pay TV product in four cities under the Layer3 TV brand, and Sievert said that’s been a learning experience leading up to the official T-Mobile TV launch. He reiterated that T-Mobile’s pay TV and home broadband plans work best in concert but that they can operate independently.

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T-Mobile will begin piloting home broadband offers in 2019. Earlier in the year, some of those services will be based on 4G LTE network technology, but later on that will shift toward 5G. The company expects to offer median download speeds of 450 Mbps.

Sievert said that T-Mobile’s pay TV and home broadband services will eventually become an integrated service offering, but in the early stages they will be testing on a separate basis.

“The ultimate strategy is for home broadband and home TV to be a blended go-to-market approach,” Sievert said.

RELATED: T-Mobile's TV service delay tied to company's 5G rollout

T-Mobile is planning to have its 5G mobile network available nationwide by 2020. The company’s Sprint acquisition, which includes Sprint’s sizable spectrum holdings, will help deliver the added capacity expected from 5G. That new combined company intends to market home broadband in 52% of U.S. zip codes, in markets where T-Mobile’s 5G network creates more capacity than can be consumed by mobile users.

Sievert also further discussed T-Mobile’s mobile video service plans. He said that T-Mobile wants to provide a service that helps customers choose the video subscription plans that make the most sense for them as well as handling billing and search and discovery for those services.

“We think there’s a more nuanced role for us to play in helping you get access to the great media brands out there that you love and to be able to put together your own media subscription in smaller pieces: $5, $6, $7 or $8 at a time,” said Sievert. “It’s an exciting future for us.”

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