T-Mobile US will shut down its TVision live-TV service and offer Google’s YouTube TV at a promotional discount, ending a three-year effort to create a disruptive alternative to cable.
Customers “don’t want more streaming services — they want help buying and navigating the services that already exist,” T-Mobile Chief Executive Officer Mike Sievert wrote in a blog post Monday.
The decision to back out of the crowded streaming market comes just weeks after Sievert said TVision was going to play a big role in the company’s plan to enter the broadband market as soon as this month.
“We don’t actually even think of TVision as a business,” Sievert said in an interview on March 11. “You know, we think of it as an initiative, an initiative to help us sell home broadband and serve customers.”
As part of the revised plan, T-Mobile will sell YouTube TV to its mobile subscribers for $54.99 a month, which is $10 less than Alphabet’s Google charges.
The Bellevue company entered the pay-TV business in 2017 with the acquisition of Layer3 TV, a closely held premium-TV subscription service delivered online. The big bundle of channels, priced at $75 to $100 a month, proved to be more of the same service that cable subscribers were fleeing in record numbers.
After hitting some complexities in putting TVision into shape, the project was delayed in 2018. It debuted in 2019 with a set-top box and a $100 price tag, slightly out of step with where TV was headed.
“The pay-TV model isn’t broken, it’s just changing,” Sievert said earlier this month. “The customer will just abandon the parts of it that don’t work for them so fast and move to the parts that do work.”