T-Mobile is counting on a “wireless first” approach to TV, according to the a new Federal Communications Commission (FCC) filing that has now surfaced. The filing does not go into much detail on the service but does seem to make the point this will be a service which places all of its emphasis on offering a wireless-only level of TV access.
This wireless approach, along with the filing in general, also seems to allude to the suggestion the TV service will only be available to existing T-Mobile subscribers which will make it fundamentally different to the other streaming-based solutions currently on offer that typically offer access regardless of whether a consumer is already an existing customer or not. The specifics on this point are not fully clear as the filing has been redacted in places, although what is telling is a line which reads “New T-Mobile will help ___ subscribers (verses ___ subscribers in the standalone world) break up with their pay TV providers.” While the two redacted parts leave out the important keywords, the overall sentiment does seem to highly suggest the service will not be available in a standalone fashion which is where the T-Mobile only customer aspect comes in. Furthermore, this will be more of a fully-inclusive wireless solution with the filing stating it will offer “the first wireless only bundle for TV + home internet.”
The “New T-Mobile” reference is also important as while the filing does shed some more light on the upcoming TV service which is underpinned by T-Mobile's acquisition of Layer3 TV, it is only doing so to further the overall agenda of the filing which is to persuade readers in the value of the proposed merger of T-Mobile and Sprint – with “New T-Mobile” set to be the name of the new combined entity following approval. As part of the narrative’s argument, T-Mobile states that it will be in a much better position to serve its TV solution through a combined T-Mobile and Sprint company, than it would be able to otherwise. The only other snippets of information provided include the intention to serve both rural and urban customers, and the ability to provide at least some content in 4K. All of these benefits will also be highly dependent on the company’s plans to rollout its 5G network, which again, the redacted filing states will be better provided through a combined T-Mobile and Sprint.