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Ever feisty T-Mobile is going after the behemoths of cable and satellite television service.
The Bellevue, Wash.-based telecommunications company announced the launch of TVision Home, a new home television service that it says will be cheaper, more comprehensive and user friendly than current offerings.
T-Mobile’s combative CEO John Legere said in a press release that the TVision launch would bring T-Mobile “one step closer to taking on Big Cable.”
Since taking over as CEO in 2012, Legere has aggressively looked for ways to expand T-Mobile’s services. In recent months, he has targeted cable and satellite TV, calling it “the stupidest, brokenest, arrogantest industry of all” in a December 2018 blog post.
But T-Mobile will have to prove its TVision claims. What the company has termed the “Un-carrier” isn’t that different in price, channel offerings, or even the type of equipment customers will need.
According to T-Mobile, the average U.S. cable bill is $107.50. That is consistent with 2018 findings by the Leichtman Research Group, which tracks broadband, entertainment and other media trends.
TVision, will offer subscribers a dedicated, set-top box that will initially receive about 275 channels at a starting price of about $100 monthly for 150 channels. Beginning April 14, the service will be available in Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, New York City, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Washington, DC and Longmont, Colo.
These are cities previously served by Layer3TV, a company T-Mobile acquired in 2017 to provide new, disruptive services. T-Mobile hopes to add more markets before year’s end.
Along with lower prices, TVision is promising more choice and better customer service for the 74% of American homes tethered to cable or satellite services. The company promises not to raise prices or add hidden fees, and it is offering cable and satellite customers $500 to switch to the new service and to pay termination fees to past providers.
TVision will also offer streaming services from Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, I Heart Radio, Pandora and Viacom. TVision will also offer a personalized home screen and DVR for each user, smart speaker control via Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa and access to home security systems.
Frances Katz is a freelance writer focusing on media, culture and technology. Her work has appeared in The Atlantic, The Week, The Washington Post, USA Today and other publications. She lives in Atlanta.