T-Mobile is already shutting down TVision Live

TVision
T-Mobile's TV software provider, MobiTV, filed for bankruptcy earlier this month. (Fierce Video)

T-Mobile has decided to shut down its TVision Live and TVision Vibe streaming TV services just five months after they first launched.

In a blog post, T-Mobile CEO Mike Sievert said both services will wind down on April 29 and that his company will instead focus on offering YouTube TV and Philo as streaming TV alternatives for subscribers.

T-Mobile said that TVision Live and Vibe customers can get $10 off YouTube TV and/or Philo every month, a discount that will stick for as long as they’re T-Mobile subscribers. Existing TVision Live customers can also get a free month of YouTube TV and three free months of YouTube Premium. Current TVision Vibe customers can get a free month of Philo to start.

In addition, all T-Mobile postpaid wireless and Sprint consumer customers will be eligible for $10 per month off YouTube TV and/or Philo starting on April 6.

Many other wireless and broadband service providers including Verizon, WideOpenWest and Google Fiber have begun selling third-party streaming TV services instead of their traditional video products. However, for T-Mobile, the move comes as something of a shock since TVision just launched in November.

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“This shift may surprise some given last year’s TVision streaming services launch. But innovation seldom follows a straight line. Since launching the TVision initiative, we’ve learned a lot about the TV industry, about streaming products, and of course, about TV customers. We also saw trends that made us take a fresh look at how to best do in video what we always do: put customers first,” he wrote.

Sievert said another factor was the company’s TV software provider, MobiTV, “encountering some financial challenges.” MobiTV earlier this month filed for bankruptcy and set about implementing a restructuring process that it said will “better position its operating platforms for long-term sustainability and growth.”

Shortly after launching, TVision also found itself in trouble with programmers who did not approve of how TVision was packaging channels.

“We were very surprised with how T-Mobile decided that they were going to bundle our networks, particularly because we have a clear agreement where our networks are required to be carried on all their basic-tier OTT offerings,” said Discovery CEO David Zaslav during an earnings call last year.. “We're in active discussions with them to quickly resolve that issue. We don't believe they have the right to do what they're doing right now. And they know, it's very clear to them, and they're focused on it.”