T-Mobile has apparently been at work on an Android TV-based device for its TVision pay TV service.
In FCC filings dug up by 9to5Google, multiple shots of an Android TV remote with TVision branding are shown but no streaming device or box. However, the remote pictured suggests that T-Mobile could be developing a version of TVision that supports Google Assistant voice and adds in support for third-party streaming apps like Netflix and YouTube, likely through the Google Play store.
The remote also features dedicated buttons for a DVR and a channel guide. The remote doesn’t look radically different from the remote that accompanies AT&T’s recently launched Android TV-based IP TV service, AT&T TV.
Though it’s unclear how or if at all this remote and an accompanying device might factor into T-Mobile’s plans for TVision, it’s not surprising to see the company considering Android TV, a platform that many other pay TV providers have used to launch video services.
In April 2019, T-Mobile officially announced TVision Home, a rebranded and upgraded version of Layer3 TV that retails for $90 per month. Beyond that announcement, T-Mobile has been fairly quiet about its pay TV plans.
When T-Mobile closed its deal for cable TV upstart Layer3 TV in early 2018, it used similar language about challenging incumbent cable and satellite providers.
“We know people love their TV, but hate their TV providers. But, the reaction to our announcement last month took even me by surprise. People are ready for choice and change! Well, good news ‘cause that’s exactly what we’re gonna bring!” said John Legere, T-Mobile’s CEO at the time. “I can’t wait to take the fight to Big Cable and Satellite TV on behalf of consumers everywhere!”
In an FCC filing last year, the company said it wants to offer a “full replacement that will compete with current ISPs for existing double/triple-play subscribers,” suggesting a video and broadband bundle.
In recent months, T-Mobile has been focused on finalizing its merger with Sprint and building out its 5G network and using the bandwidth to provide in-home broadband to underserved populations. The company said it will take on “big cable” by providing 100+ Mbps speeds for wireless broadband to 90% of the population and offering in-home service to millions of the country’s households in the next six years.