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T-Mobile Is Becoming a Cable Company (engadget.com) 92

T-Mobile has revealed that it's launching a TV service in 2018, and that is has acquired Layer3 TV (a company that integrates TV, streaming and social networking) to make this happen. The company thinks people are ditching cable due to the providers, not TV itself. Engadget reports: It claims that it can "uncarrier" TV the way it did with wireless service, and has already targeted a few areas it thinks it can fix: it doesn't like the years-long contracts, bloated bundles, outdated tech and poor customer service that are staples of TV service in the U.S. T-Mobile hasn't gone into detail about the functionality of the service yet. How will it be delivered? How much will it cost? Where will it be available? And will this affect the company's free Netflix offer? This is more a declaration of intent than a concrete roadmap, so it's far from certain that the company will live up to its promises. Ultimately, the move represents a big bet on T-Mobile's part: that people like TV and are cutting the cord based on a disdain for the companies, not the service. There's a degree of truth to that when many Americans are all too familiar with paying ever-increasing rates to get hundreds of channels they don't watch. However, there's no guarantee that it'll work in an era when many people (particularly younger people) are more likely to use Netflix, YouTube or a streaming TV service like Sling TV.
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T-Mobile Is Becoming a Cable Company

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  • Bad headline (Score:4, Insightful)

    by bananaquackmoo ( 1204116 ) on Wednesday December 13, 2017 @07:53PM (#55735213)
    They're not becoming a CABLE company, they're becoming a company which provides video. HUGE difference.
  • If they will truly have the content reliably (the main reason I never started using Hulu et al - too many stories of episodes disappearing), and the streaming apps work better than any of the others I've seen so far, then maybe...

    • (the main reason I never started using Hulu et al - too many stories of episodes disappearing

      In fairness, that's because Hulu is trying to feel like TV. Episodes only live for like 5 weeks after being published and get published every week. Which makes sense because its owned by the major TV networks. Can you imagne what would happen if they

    • If they will truly have the content reliably (the main reason I never started using Hulu et al - too many stories of episodes disappearing)

      Sorry, but T-Mobile's service won't be any different. They're just re-selling content that is owned and controlled by someone else.

      Move along. Nothing to see here.

  • by AvitarX ( 172628 ) <me&brandywinehundred,org> on Wednesday December 13, 2017 @08:14PM (#55735303) Journal

    They dedicate 40mbps*50 channels for 2gbps, that's what, 2-10% of a tower (I'm seeing LTE towers are built for 20-100gbps), assuming they can make devices that pick up broadcastlike.

    So for a 2-10% reduction in mobile data speed for customers, they can offer 50 high quality (4k HDR) channels using H.265 (I assume, I don't actually know how efficient it is, I'm basically taking blue ray * 4 (pixels) / 2 (efficiency)).

    If they can sell/rent a receiver for a reasonable price that can take their broadcast they can have super high quality live TV for minimal bandwidth reduction for their regular market. They can then lean on people having home Internet or much reduced resolution for on demand content (maybe 5 mbps as Netflix recommends for HD), this is in the realm of what I typically get at a minimum when checking my LTE speed (5-50 in my home city). They could maybe limit on demand content to SD speeds (1.5mbps), but allow you to subscribe to shows and have access the day after aired at 4k, downloading in off times (including allowing the downloading of Netflix downloadable shows).

    This seems like a very doable and smart thing in an era of people hating cable.

  • Most under 20 are getting their entertainment from Youtube, Hulu, Netflix, etc. -- and I'd bet many kids under 10 are growing up without the classic TV experience that most adults remember. Hell, I know a kid who'd rather watch Youtube or Twitch than any TV show... and he tells me most of his class is the same way.

    There's definitely room for a new internet provider, but I think cable is firmly and deservedly dying.

    • Most under 20 are getting their entertainment from Youtube, Hulu, Netflix, etc. -- and I'd bet many kids under 10 are growing up without the classic TV experience that most adults remember. Hell, I know a kid who'd rather watch Youtube or Twitch than any TV show... and he tells me most of his class is the same way.

      There's definitely room for a new internet provider, but I think cable is firmly and deservedly dying.

      Not anymore. Starting tomorrow net neutrality is going to be voted down. Portugal's national ISP as an example forces you to pay for extra things they firewall or throttle down by default forcing to to a tiered la carte system. Want to watch Netflix? That will be $35 extra a month. Amazon video? ANother $25 a month etc.

      Of course it will just be cheaper to buy cable you know. Tmobile will use the l3 background to blackmail you and your ISPs so they can quad drip after your ISP triple dips by charging you, cl

      • by AvitarX ( 172628 )

        Why wouldn't Tmobile use their own capacity?

        I assume that's the goal, to offer you TV service that is 100% independent from Comcast, AT&T etc.

      • Starting tomorrow net neutrality is going to be voted down. Portugal's national ISP as an example

        I've seen an internal Comcast memo that says that as soon as the FCC rescinds their regulations they're going to start hiring customer service reps who speak only Portuguese so they can better replicate the kind of service the national ISP of Portugal offers.

        Of course it will just be cheaper to buy cable you know.

        Huh? If cable is tacking on $60 a month for Netflix and Amazon, then it would seem to be a lot cheaper to go with T-Mobile and a $20/month internet service from them.

        Tmobile will use the l3 background to blackmail you and your ISPs

        What the hell is an "l3 background"? And how does a small cable company that is availa

      • Check Snopes, the Portugal example is false.
      • Portugal's national ISP as an example forces you to pay for extra things they firewall or throttle down by default forcing to to a tiered la carte system. Want to watch Netflix? That will be $35 extra a month. Amazon video? ANother $25 a month etc.

        That's just complete and utter horseshit. Portugal is in the EU and actually does have net neutrality laws in line with EU mandates. Claiming that they charge more for certain services is just a complete lie based on a tweet by some idiot politician who had no clue what he was talking about.

        I can understand the talking heads on TV news saying such ludicrous things, but I'm truly surprised to see someone on Slashdot parroting their nonsense.

        • Portugal's national ISP as an example forces you to pay for extra things they firewall or throttle down by default forcing to to a tiered la carte system. Want to watch Netflix? That will be $35 extra a month. Amazon video? ANother $25 a month etc.

          That's just complete and utter horseshit. Portugal is in the EU and actually does have net neutrality laws in line with EU mandates. Claiming that they charge more for certain services is just a complete lie based on a tweet by some idiot politician who had no clue what he was talking about.

          I can understand the talking heads on TV news saying such ludicrous things, but I'm truly surprised to see someone on Slashdot parroting their nonsense.

          Then you tell me [twitter.com]?

          • I'm familiar with that model because I was actually looking for a Mexican SIM card, and Mexico has a similar setup for many of their carriers. Short version: mobile carriers sell data bundles by the gigabyte, as they do everywhere in the world, but they also sell "packages" on top of the data plans which can be applied to specific services. So, say you buy 3 gigabytes of data, plus pay an extra $5 for the "social media" package; you now have 3 gigabytes to use for whatever you want, plus you can use socia

  • Comcast and Spectrum citing the revocation of network neutrality, throttle Tmobile video services to 2.1Kb/s

    • Comcast and Spectrum citing the revocation of network neutrality, throttle Tmobile video services to 2.1Kb/s

      What a fantastic universe you live in, where Comcast can reach out to the local T-Mobile tower and throttle the LTE data it sends, or would even bother trying. Is the sky blue on your planet, like it is on Earth here?

  • As near as I can tell the bar in this industry is set so low...well, let's just say that T-Mobile should easily exceed whatever laughably passes for customer service in the Cable industry. Cable providers are routinely ranked at the very bottom - right down there with airlines and government. Yeah, it's that bad.

    All they really have to do is:

    1) NOT treat their customers like shit
    2) Be price competitive with other streaming services
    3) And....don't treat your customers like shit

    The cables companies don't seem

  • Boy as Americans be prepaired to pay. Pay more now for your own TV streaming services as of tomorrow will be voted off by the appeal of net neutrality. SInce L3 owns the backbone for hte internet tmobile can now blackmail comcast to for tripple dipping which comcast will then charge you again for both ends and now the backbone for mega profits. Can't wait for my $200 a month internet bill and lacarte with VPN being firewalled out. VPN will come as an additional charge to unblock of course etc.

    This has got t

    • SInce L3 owns the backbone for hte internet tmobile can now blackmail comcast

      Are you deliberately confusing "Layer 3" with "Level 3" just so you can spread FUD and make stuff up?

      cell phones before 2007 where you had to pay a monthly fee for each service such as adding a ringtone or a map program.

      I've never paid to add a ringtone or a "map program".

      • by mentil ( 1748130 )

        My old slider phone had mapping software built-in... that would only work if you paid a (presumably one-time) fee to activate it. Presumably the money went to the app developer rather than the carrier.

    • Re:Throttle DOWN (Score:4, Informative)

      by SlaveToTheGrind ( 546262 ) on Wednesday December 13, 2017 @09:38PM (#55735703)

      This has got to be intentional as these companies are salivating at the thought of making our internet like cell phones before 2007 where you had to pay a monthly fee for each service such as adding a ringtone or a map program. Net Neutrality now is the only force holding them back.

      Yeah, because that's exactly what we all had to do between 2007 and 2015. I'd suggest decaf.

  • will you own the Layer3 TV boxes now? or be forced to rent them like it is now?

    They don't force you to rent phones!

  • >> claims that it can "uncarrier" TV the way it did with wireless service

    It already did what now? Wireless still seems like a giant tripartate monopoly to me.

    • Wireless still seems like a giant tripartate monopoly to me.

      How do you have a "tripartate monopoly"?

      You mean like AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, Verizon, Metro PCS, and the 26 other wireless services that this [whistleout.com] website allows you to compare? Is "tripartate" a latin word for "31"?

      Yeah, not all carriers cover all places, but there's a lot more than 3 in most of the US, and "three" is hardly a monopoly.

      • by JustNiz ( 692889 )

        Really AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon
        Sprint are on their own standard.

  • T-Mobile is dumb I cut the cord and don't have TV at all. I thought I couldn't live without it but I have found that it was the best decision I ever made. Not only am I saving $300 US a month I don't have to watch commercials anymore. Netflix and all the local channels stream for free, and guess what NO commercials (I think they don't show commercials because you can watch anywhere in the world and they want to be paid for that). So why would I pay for TV again? Cable companies have missed not only the boat
    • by AvitarX ( 172628 )

      There will always be a place for live TV, if they got a good enough deal on the purchase they may be able to make money.

      If the tech really does more efficiently stream live TV over IP, they could be the ideal choice for things like HBO (GoT finale was hard to watch on HBO go), Sports, Special events, idle background with no need to make a decision (I'm pretty sure this is HGTVs entire market).

      Sure, the live TV market isn't going to be as big as all of cable, but that doesn't mean they are overpaying for the

      • IPtv (tv over IP) works really well in Estonia, and several years ago, the country's main service provider (incl. mobile & Internet) made it possible to order individual cable channels in addition to a basic bundle. This, and the possibility to order pay-per-view movies makes their entire proposition a delight. So, T-Mobile might be on to a very lucrative market segment.

        IPtv also makes it much easier to do viewership statistics, and thus gather better data on viewership of both tv shows and ads. Thes
        • Telia, the major operator in Estonia, have in the past also offered some triple bundles, which consist of basic Internet (up to 120 Kbytes/s, which in the Flash era made it just barely possible to reliably watch/listen to YouTube in 360p), a basic tv package (plan), and landline phone service in one. Well, as landline as it can get through household fiber. And on top of that one can order additional cable channels and pay-per-tv.
    • Where do you live that has local channels streaming for free with no commercials. Everywhere I know local channels don't stream at all and they all have commercials except for public TV(which has fundraising messages instead).

      If you can get by with Netflix streaming (content shrinking every day) then good for you. Other people would like the option of getting some TV channels. It all comes down to services and price point and that is yet to be determined.

  • This is the new investment that the FCC was talking about that would happen as a result of repealing Network Neutrality.

    T-Mobile will build a 5G network that can provide high speed internet access sufficient to stream video to all its customers. Video streamed from their service will be exempt from data caps which will allow them to recover the investment necessary to build out the network.

    Nobody will be required to subscribe to the video service but this allows people the option of replacing their home int

  • Watch the video. They are clearly primarily aiming at watching TV on mobile devices, ie. phones. Doing anything with or over cable seems at best likely to be secondary to their main strategy.

  • After arguing with Verizon recently, I thought about "cutting the cord". But I am old and I watch baseball. It seems that I have no way to do so UNLESS I have cable. I can get MLB "All Access", but this should really be called "All Access Except for the Local Team that You Want to Watch". Or I could possibly watch using the NBC Sports app, but I have to have a cable account number...
  • 1. Will their service be ad-free?
    2. Will their service run entirely as an on-demand service?

    If either of those is NO, it's not worth my time.
  • Is it still a Cable Company if it delivers video streams over fiber instead of coax? Is it about the physical cable line running to your home, or the content? I wouldn't consider a company that provides DSL a cable company, but obviously they still use a cable, and one can receive IPTV over that connection. The terminology is extremely poor here.

    I could never imagine going back to programmed video streams like TV, let alone one that had commercials. Apparently T-Mobile has identified a market for it. P

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