Just five months after announcing its TVision streaming service, T-Mobile today shared the news that TVision’s three bundles of live channels will all close by the end of April. The development is part of T-Mobile’s new partnership with Google and YouTube, which appears to be a huge deal. The carrier says YouTube TV will now play the role of its ‘live TV solution’. It also positions Philo TV as the replacement for its basic offering.
The Live, Live Plus, and Live Zone services available at TVision will go dark on April 29.
T-Mobile is giving a month of free YouTube TV to customers who signed up for one of the TVision Live packages, and all T-Mobile subscribers are eligible to save $ 10 off the usual monthly rate of $ 64.99 ; so if they want the service it costs $ 54.99 a month. They can also get YouTube Premium for free for three months. On the Philo side, customers can also get $ 10 off the usual price.
“YouTube TV is a leader in this field,” T-Mobile said in today’s press release. “It offers the same great flexibility, robust content and convenience that TVision customers love.” The message is clear: T-Mobile is partnering with a company that has been in this game for some time and is already familiar with everything it takes to make streaming, watch TV everywhere work – even if it feels like costs are getting higher.
In what appears to be an attempt to mitigate a momentary misstep, T-Mobile says the “TVision initiative was launched to give customers new choices and help millions of people cut the wire, while pushing the upcoming wireless home Internet service. of the company. ” That doesn’t quite match the usual cheeky ‘Uncarrier’ tone T-Mobile had returned in October, when CEO Mike Sievert said, “Just as we’ve changed wireless forever, we’re now going to change TVs forever.” At the time, T-Mobile said TVision Live was “a total game changer for anyone who wants live news and sports.”
Sievert has now changed his tune. In a blog post today, he acknowledged that TV is better “with friends,” and took a closer look at what led to T-Mobile’s renewed approach:
This shift may surprise some, given the launch of TVision streaming services last year. But innovation rarely follows a straight line. Since the launch of the TVision initiative, we have learned a lot about the TV industry, streaming products and of course TV customers. We also saw trends that made us take a fresh look at how we can best do in video what we always do: putting customers first. With our TV software vendor facing 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 the launch of new streaming services, and we’ve concluded that we can add even more value to consumers’ TV choices by partnering with the best services out there and closing incredible streaming media deals for T-Mobile. customers and help our customers navigate the increasingly complex streaming world.
Sievert describes the new arrangement as ‘a major upgrade’, adding that ‘YouTube TV offers more than twice as many channels as TVision Live, and Philo offers almost twice as many channels as TVision Vibe’.
TVision Live had started at $ 40 / month, with Live Plus and Live Zone growing by an additional $ 10 each. As other internet TV providers know, it’s unlikely that T-Mobile could have stuck to those lower tiers for long.
TVision Vibe – a $ 10 per month service that provides on-demand access (but not live streams) to shows from AMC, Discovery, MTV, and other networks – is also being phased out. The same goes for TVision Channels, which allow customers to merge their subscriptions from Showtime, Stars and Epix. The TVision Hub 4K streaming dongle remains available and it sounds like YouTube TV is now getting a prominent place on that device.
You can think of this as a retreat from T-Mobile, but I think the decision is probably the right one. YouTube TV remains the streaming TV service to beat, and there just wasn’t enough about TVision to make it stand out among YTTV and other competitors. Any price advantage would never last. Above all, T-Mobile is still touting its strong 5G network advantage, as evidenced by the Magenta Max data plan it announced at the end of February. The plan is the only one of the major providers to override any deprioritization limits for data usage.
Update March 29, 4:25 PM ET: The article has been updated with more details on T-Mobile’s revamped TV approach, with new details on Philo’s role in the initiative and a blog post by Mike Sievert, CEO of T-Mobile.