T-Mobile’s TV service will not arrive any earlier than Q2, 2019, according to a new report which credits “multiple sources within the company” for the information. The report goes further than just stating the launch time-frame has been delayed, but actually suggests there are far more serious issues with the service than what had previously been understood. Issues that are now forcing the delay of the service to April 2019 - at the earliest.
T-Mobile finding TV harder than expected
It was originally expected T-Mobile's answer to TV streaming would launch by the end of 2018, although with the year now effectively over that’s not going to happen. The first cracks started to show in October when T-Mobile confirmed the mobile side of the service would not launch until 2019 - the difference being T-Mobile was still claiming the service would launch in 2018 with just the mobile angle delayed. Earlier in December, however, a report emerged stating the entire service was being delayed until 2019 with those said to be in the know suggesting the main issue revolved around the securing of rights to the content the company wants.
What that may still be the case, this new report sheds light on other issues that are apparently affecting the rollout and these issues, if true, are likely to be much more fundamental when it comes to launching the service as while rights can be agreed at any time, the issues cited in this new report cut to the very core in determining the success of the service - performance and the user interface
Not as good as it should be
According to the report, the service in its current form is “not what it should be” with this being further explained as the interface not being as good as the company had hoped, and suffering from “performance issues.” In fact, the latter might be a much greater issue in general with the suggestion T-Mobile CEO, John Legere, does not feel the service is currently able to support enough users, on different platforms, at the same time. This is understood to be an effect of the company using the Layer3 TV technology T-Mobile acquired with the unnamed sources quoted as saying the technology infrastructure is presently not “robust enough” to handle the type of demand the service is expected to attract.
More delays possible
If correct, there’s no guarantee the service will even launch in the second-quarter of next year. A point the current report subtlety hints at by suggestion Q2 is the earliest the service will launch and not necessarily when. This would make sense as the company will need to ensure the user experience is as robust and reliable as possible, and able to handle more demand than the company expects - in case demand proves higher. Alternatively, and what might be more likely, is T-Mobile will opt for a gradual rollout where when the service does launch it only does so in select areas and gradually builds up availability in other parts of the US as time goes on. This is exactly the approach YouTube took when it launched its TV solution and even today still does not offer it as a full nationwide option - though the number of places YouTube TV is available in has increased significantly compared to its initial debut.
Besides the technical and rights issues, there’s also the self-inflicted ‘T-Mobile issue’ to contend with as the company has not been shy in vocally singing its own praises and how good its TV solution will be. T-Mobile has repeatedly argued how it does not want to launch just another TV service but instead wants to disrupt the Cable and Satellite TV industry in much the same way it has with the wireless industry over the last few years. This inevitably means T-Mobile now has to live up to its own rhetoric and can’t simply put out a competing product that builds and improves over time as it will lose any initial launch impact and appear less disrupting. A move like that could result in even longer-lasting repercussions when it comes to finding ways to lure customers away from existing solutions and over to its own. So while T-Mobile is running a risk of waiting even longer to enter a market that’s already highly-competitive, it might be less of a risk to wait than to rush to market. Although, if that is the case the company would only have itself to blame as it is its words, language, and actions that are likely now dictating the need for a T-Mobile service that’s not only good, but better than all other options.