With YouTube TV deal, Verizon reconfirms it doesn't need content

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Verizon is teaming up with YouTube TV in its upcoming 5G markets. (Verizon)

Verizon revealed its plans to package YouTube TV and Apple TV devices with its 5G service and reconfirmed it has no intention of battling AT&T on the original content front.

The wireless carrier said that customers buying its 5G in-home internet service later this year in Houston, Indianapolis, Los Angeles and Sacramento, will get to choose from a few free months of YouTube TV or an Apple TV 4K streaming box.

In addition to YouTube TV, Bloomberg reported that Verizon’s 5G customers will receive access to live NFL and NBA games, as well as news programs through Verizon’s Oath media division.

As far as how long the YouTube TV subscriptions for 5G subscribers will last, a Verizon spokesperson said that the company will provide more details about the offers when it’s ready to begin taking customer orders.

The official announcement chases reports from earlier this summer that Verizon was looking to partner with Google or Apple for live TV in its 5G markets. The partnerships confirm that Verizon, under incoming CEO Hans Vestberg, is intent on being a network provider and not an original content player like competitor AT&T.

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Vestberg spoke today with CNBC, and while he wouldn’t directly comment on AT&T’s Time Warner deal or Comcast chasing Sky, he did say that Verizon won’t be heading in the same direction.

“Our network is our asset,” Vestberg told CNBC’s Squawk Box.

Vestberg’s comments echo those of current Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam, who described Verizon’s meeting with major content players at the Sun Valley conference. He said they were all excited to hear about 5G’s ability to improve capacity and latency.

“It’s our belief that we’re positioned perfectly to have the partnerships that we need to be successful. We’re not going to be owning content so we’re not going to be competing with other content providers. We’re going to be their best partner from a distribution perspective and I think that makes great sense for the company going forward,” McAdam said during his company’s second-quarter earnings call.

Verizon has had ups and downs with video content in the past. The company shut down its ad-supported video platform, Go90, earlier this year, following years of attempts to lure in audiences. And it also shelved its plans to launch a streaming TV product that would compete with virtual MVPDs like AT&T’s DirecTV Now and Dish Network’s Sling TV.

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