Time Runs Out for T-Mobile TV in 2018

After scooping up startup Layer3 TV earlier this year, T-Mobile’s plans to launch a disruptive online video service in 2018 appear to have faltered. The delay may not be a long one, but it follows years of bold claims by the Layer3 TV team that have amounted to very little in the consumer market.

Bloomberg reports that “people familiar with the situation” (often code for employees involved who don’t want their names used) are saying T-Mobile will hold off on its video launch until 2019 because of unexpected complexities in getting the service off the ground. Light Reading adds that the new launch date is likely to come in early February, and that part of the holdup can also be attributed to T-Mobile’s focus on getting a merger deal with Sprint approved by government regulators.

Whatever the reason for the delay, it’s hard to escape the fact that Layer3 TV has long overpromised and underdelivered on its service. The founders started boasting about their revolutionary video product in 2014. At the time it was acquired by T-Mobile in January of this year, the company had only launched in a handful of markets, and reportedly signed on roughly 5,000 customers. As for being disruptive, Layer3’s biggest differentiator so far seems to be its focus on 4K TV, where content is still unfortunately fairly limited, and its price point, which at a base of $80 per month is going to be hard to match up against online competitors like DirecTV Now and YouTube TV.