Update: T-Mobile and Xumo have both now confirmed the service is not going to arrive as described in the original report. Instead, Xumo is working with Metro by T-Mobile on a service that will only be available on two phones. The service is due to launch next month. End of update.
T-Mobile is set to launch a new TV streaming service that’s aimed at mobile users and will be free at the point of delivery, according to a new report.
The service is said to be arriving in the next few weeks and when it does it will land utilizing an ad-supported model that subsidizes the cost to the user.
At present, there are no official details on what the quality of the TV service will be like, or how robust the channel lineup will be, but considering this is supposedly a free service, it should be expected to be more of a budget-type streaming service.
In spite of the lack of information, the report states the service will be based on content licensed from Xumo and if this is correct then that will explain a lot. Xumo is a service that is already available to the public and offers free access to live TV.
Xumo is not a live TV service in the way many people might understand that to be, although it does provide access to some live content such as CBS News and NBC News. Instead, Xumo is mostly bulked out with short-form content and content that's put together to promote specific sites and entities. Although it does claim to offer access to more than 150 different channels.
From the limited information now available, T-Mobile’s service will likely be more akin to a slightly better/different version of the now-failed go90 service from Verizon, than the likes of WatchTV from AT&T which actually provides a decent selection of live TV content - albeit, at a cost.
With this being a T-Mobile service, the information seems to suggest it will only be available to T-Mobile customers as it will be integrated within the company’s app and apparently will come loaded on some T-Mobile phones.
This marks an interesting strategy as the suggested exclusivity won’t be much more than hyped-up marketing considering Xumo already has an Android app available to download from the Google Play Store that any Android user can install and access the same content.
If the service is primarily based on Xumo then it remains to be seen how worthwhile it will be as everything that will be available is already available through Xumo, and also elsewhere.
This service should not be mistaken with T-Mobile’s other, and grander TV solution, as for some time it has been clear that T-Mobile is looking to disrupt the TV world like it has with wireless. Those ambitions are understood to include a more robust TV product that's powered by the technology acquired when the company purchased Layer3 TV.
In comparison to this latest rumored service, the other T-Mobile service is thought to be an actual competitor in the live TV streaming space, although its ability to compete will likely be partially determined by its arrival date, as this is a service that is already overdue.
T-Mobile had originally suggested its TV solution would arrive before the end of 2018 and since then has moved the goalposts to the opening quarter of 2019.
Whether the new time-frame is still on track is unclear, and especially if T-Mobile is now planning to launch this service in the interim. If anything, the launching of this somewhat mediocre TV solution might be evidence in itself that T-Mobile is encountering further issues with firming out is disruptive TV plans.