The big picture: Streaming services have increased in number in the last few years, putting tremendous pressure on traditional cable companies. T-Mobile attempted to "Uncarrier" the cable market, but seemingly couldn't compete with more popular and cheaper streaming options.
T-Mobile has announced it is shuttering its live TV service, TVision, a surprising move considering it launched the service only five months ago. Philo will replace the base live TV service, while YouTube TV will round out the "premium" TV offerings.
The company originally acquired Layer 3 TV and revamped it as TVision as a way to pull an "Uncarrier" move in the cable subscription market. It was priced at a steady $90 per month and offered over 150+ channels including live sports and local channels. T-Mobile was aggressive at trying to recruit new customers by going as far as paying off early termination fees from satellite providers.
Current TVision Live and Vibe customers will get $10 off YouTube TV and Philo every month for as long as they remain a T-Mobile subscriber. TVision Vibe customers get a free month of Philo, while TVision Live customers get a free month of YouTube TV and 3 free months of YouTube Premium.
Perhaps anticipating the obvious question of why T-Mobile would shutter its service after a mere five months, T-Mobile CEO Mike Sievert explained the decision further:
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. With our TV software provider encountering some financial challenges and with our broader, strategic partnerships with Google and Philo, we saw an opportunity to deliver unique value to our customers and strengthen the TVision initiative with the best partners. This industry is incredibly fragmented, with new streaming services launching all the time, and we’ve concluded that we can add even more value to consumers’ TV choices by partnering with the best services out there, negotiating incredible streaming media deals for T-Mobile customers, and helping our customers navigate the increasingly complex streaming world.
Sievert also goes to explain how we're at the "peak of cord cutting and streaming" and that its Home Internet business will be a big factor in that. The company basically believes that it's interests are better served as an ISP and gateway to the wider streaming landscape.
Current TVision services will wind down on April 29th though subscribers with a TVision Hub dongle will still be able to use it with YouTube TV and Philo. With many media companies launching their own streaming subscription services, it probably makes sense for T-Mobile to bow out now.