T-Mobile is already shutting down its live TV service
The telco is shuttering TVision, the live TV service it launched in November, next month. T-Mobile will replace TVision with Google's YouTube TV service, which it is offering to its customers at a discounted rate.
T-Mobile had launched TVision as an internet TV service, offering a variety of channel bundles starting at just $10 per month. However, those cheap plans drew the ire of several programmers, with media companies like NBCUniversal and Discovery lamenting that the company was violating the terms of their agreements.
As a result, T-Mobile had to reconfigure some of TVision's channel lineups, and quickly deemphasized the cheapest $10 TVision Vibe plan, which has since all but completely disappeared from its website.
T-Mobile CEO Mike Sievert acknowledged some of those hiccups in a blog post Monday. "This shift may surprise some given last year's TVision streaming services launch," he wrote. "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."
"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," he added.
On Monday, the company said that its remaining TVision plans would be discontinued at the end of April. In addition to its partnership with Google, T-Mobile has also teamed up with Philo to offer Vibe subscribers a cheaper alternative. T-Mobile intends to keep selling its TVision Hub, an Android TV-based streaming device that was intended to kickstart the launch of the company's TVision service.
Janko Roettgers (@jank0) is a senior reporter at Protocol, reporting on the shifting power dynamics between tech, media, and entertainment, including the impact of new technologies. Previously, Janko was Variety's first-ever technology writer in San Francisco, where he covered big tech and emerging technologies. He has reported for Gigaom, Frankfurter Rundschau, Berliner Zeitung, and ORF, among others. He has written three books on consumer cord-cutting and online music and co-edited an anthology on internet subcultures. He lives with his family in Oakland.