After promising a “disruptive new TV service” that would “shake things up and give people real choice,” T-Mobile is launching something that sounds a lot like cable. The company’s new TVision Home service is a $90-per-month TV package with more than 150 channels, served through cable boxes that cost $10 per month to rent. The service will launch on April 14 in Chicago, Dallas-Fort Worth, Los Angeles, New York City, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Washington, D.C., and Longmont, Colorado, and T-Mobile subscribers can get a $10-per-month discount.
Essentially, this is a rebranding of the Layer3 TV service that T-Mobile acquired in early 2018, with some additional features such as personalized recommendations and integration with streaming apps like Netflix and YouTube. T-Mobile is pitching the service as “BS-Free,” with no hidden fees or contracts, but it’s not really cheaper than the average $107 per month cable bill, and it’s much pricier than live TV streaming services such as Sling TV ($25 per month and up), YouTube TV ($40 per month), and Hulu with Live TV ($45 per month).
Still, T-Mobile is promising bigger things to come. The service will eventually stream to connected TV devices, eliminating the need for a cable box, and T-Mobile continues to hint that it will someday bundle TV and internet service over 5G (never mind that 5G deployment is slow-going). T-Mobile’s plans to sell streaming services à la carte sound more interesting–the carrier inked a deal with Viacom for said plans last week–but it’s still unclear when or how that offering will come together. Until the “Un-carrier” figures out the whole TV disruption thing, TVision Home is just a holdover.