T-Mobile has already made it abundantly clear it intends to disrupt the U.S. in-home broadband market. But on Thursday, the company said it plans to replace every service cable companies provide.
In a new FCC filing (which has since been made confidential), T-Mobile noted that 74% of households that subscribe to both pay TV and broadband internet do so through a double- or triple-play offer—presumably some combination of TV, internet and phone, or all of the above. The company said that its home internet product coupled with its Layer3 TV service and mobile service offers a “full replacement that will compete with current ISPs for existing double/triple-play subscribers.”
That would not only apply to cable provider service bundles (from Comcast, Charter, etc.) but also to service bundles from satellite provider DirecTV and telecoms like Verizon and AT&T.
T-Mobile said the combination of home internet and Layer3 will also help reduce New T-Mobile’s churn, both in its home internet and core mobile businesses. As an example, the company said that subscribers to both AT&T and DirecTV churn half as much as standalone video subscribers.
In terms of what T-Mobile’s TV service will look like, the description makes it sound a lot like the premium product currently offered by Layer3. The company is promising a “supercharged content distribution platform” with packages including more than 275 HD channels, a selection of 4K video, and in-home digital video recording. T-Mobile added that reliable 4K streaming requires download speeds of approximately 25 Mbps, which will be the minimum speed for customers of the home internet service.
T-Mobile CEO John Legere said that his company will soon begin trialing in-home broadband using a 4G router and T-Mobile’s LTE network, and later update to 2.5 GHz spectrum and 5G-capable equipment. The company has said that its TV service—which will launch in the first half of 2019—is tied directly to its home internet plans.
T-Mobile expects to have 9.5 million in-home broadband subscribers by 2024. It’s unclear how many of those subscribers might opt for T-Mobile’s TV service as well.
T-Mobile Chief Operating Officer Mike Sievert last month said the company has already launched a predecessor pay TV product in four cities under the Layer3 TV brand, and he said that’s been a learning experience leading up to the official T-Mobile TV launch. He said that T-Mobile’s pay TV and home broadband plans will work best in concert but that they can operate independently.