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T-Mobile: There’s Opportunity in OTT Space, Which AT&T is Bungling not Bundling

Nick Dimengo

When T-Mobile and Viacom announced earlier this month that the companies had reached a deal to bring Viacom’s top channels like MTV, Nickelodeon, Comedy Central, BET, Paramount Network, among others, to a video service — which enables T-Mobile to bring the linear channels to their more than 80 million customers — it was big news. We now have a clearer vision as to what that service will look like after T-Mobile’s Q1 2019 sales call the other day.

This follows the tune of T-Mobile’s CEO, John Legere, who, in February, said the company doesn’t “have plans to develop an undifferentiated skinny bundle,” saying its T-Mobile’s aim to “put to together your own media subscription in smaller pieces.” It might be the beginning of the journey for T-Mobile’s partnership with Viacom, but, following the release of T-Mobile’s home TV service in the past month, TVision — which has seen success in eight of the biggest cities in the U.S. — T-Mobile plans on following a similar pricing structure, according to T-Mobile Executive Vice President and CTO Neville Ray.

“We come in with fair, rational pricing from day one, it saves the money right away versus year two and beyond in those crazy contracts.

“We’re going after broadband in a big way and people need an integrated TV product in that space. So we’re moving down that path and you’ll see more working in concert with broadband. And then mobile and we think there’s a lot of room in mobile in the OTT space, fall through partnerships and through first party offers from us.”

While talking about the new service, Mike Sievert, T-Mobile President and COO, had this to say:

“You can only get a fair deal a lot of the time depending on how they post their promotions. On their core wireless product, when you take a bunch of prep on satellite TV that you don’t want. Now on the other hand, if you’re asking are we going to plunge ourselves into home broadband with a disruptive offer in the New T-Mobile absolutely we are. Are we going to augment that with TV offers that range from full line cable TV replacement, some more disruptive lower price offers? Absolutely, we’re going to do that.

“We’re going to offer those in concert with wireless and create value propositions that are attractive to consumers. Yes, that’s what the uncarrier does. So it all comes down to what do you mean by bundling.”

It’s that last part that got the attention of Braxton Carter, CFO and Executive V.P. of T-Mobile, with Carter replying to his colleague by adding the differentiator between T-Mobile and one of its competitors, AT&T:

“Well, he was confused. He was referring to what AT&T does, which is bungling.”

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