T-Mobile’s New TV Streaming Service Aims to Disrupt the ‘Cableopoly’

TVision will be available to the carrier's subscribers on Nov. 1

TVision is launching with three different services: Live, Vibe and Channels. T-Mobile

T-Mobile is pushing into TV and streaming with a new service, TVision.

The new offering, announced by CEO Mike Sievert in a webcast from T-Mobile’s Bellevue, Wash., headquarters this week, offers its existing phone service customers low-cost, customized options to access live news and sports, network channels and streaming services without needing a cable subscription.

“The cableopoly holds TV fans hostage, bundling live news and sports into expensive packages with hundreds of other channels that people don’t want, and don’t watch,” Sievert said in a statement. “Something’s gotta change. And that’s what the un-carrier does best—force change.”

TVision will be available beginning Nov. 1 to T-Mobile’s post-paid customers, and will roll out later in the month to Sprint subscribers that T-Mobile inherited following the two companies’ merger. Everyone else will have to wait until sometime next year—unless they want to switch over to T-Mobile in the meantime, that is.

There were no advertising launch partners announced for TVision, though commercials may be added later on. “We are focused first and foremost on providing the best customer experience possible,” said Dow Draper, evp of emerging businesses at T-Mobile. “Over time, we plan to work with brands to leverage our great platform to reach their audiences in new and exciting ways, while continuing to provide that same great customer experience.”

Like some other virtual MVPD services on the market, TVision offers customers different tiers depending on their needs”

  • TVision Live: is a live TV-centered offering that starts at $40 a month. The base tier offers more than 30 channels, including ABC, Bravo, CNN, NBC and ESPN, but customers can pay an additional $10 a month for TVision Live+, which offers another slate of sports-centric channels like The NFL Network and The Golf Channel. TVision Live Zone offers all of those channels plus the NFL Red Zone for an additional $10 a month. Subscribers of the two upper tiers of TVision Live get a yearlong subscription to Apple’s streaming service Apple TV+ for a year if they sign up by the end of 2020.
  • TVision Vibe offers live and on-demand programming but is less focused on sports. At $10 per month, it provides access to more than 30 comedy, lifestyle, drama and music channels, including HGTV, Hallmark and TLC. The plan also includes thousands of on-demand programs and can support two simultaneous streams.
  • TVision Channels allows viewers to pick and choose streaming services like Starz, Showtime and Epix, which start at $5.99 per month. Post-launch, T-Mobile said it hopes to add more of those add-on channels based on customer feedback.

To access TVision, consumers need to purchase a $50 device, called a TVision Hub, that connects to their television via HDMI. The hub also runs Android TV, which can support independent streaming apps like Netflix that aren’t available through TVision Channels. For mobile devices, tablets or laptops, the TVision platform is accessible through a downloadable app in the App Store and Google Play.

It’s not the first time T-Mobile has attempted to use TV and streaming services as a way to lure in customers. T-Mobile has long offered perks like free Netflix subscriptions to certain subscribers, and earlier this year, the “un-carrier” offered certain subscribers a yearlong subscription to the short-form (and short-lived) streaming platform Quibi, which shut down last week after just six months. (After the initial year, those consumers were meant to choose between Netflix and Quibi for their free streaming add-on—though it seems fate has decided for them.)

@klundster kathryn.lundstrom@adweek.com Kathryn Lundstrom is Adweek's breaking news reporter based in Austin.