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T-Mobile quietly started making inroads into people’s living rooms last year, but the carrier’s pitch to tap into TV audiences got a big boost this morning. As part of its latest UnCarrier initiative, T-Mobile announced the launch of TVision, a series of over-the-top streaming services that promise to make the process of ditching cable as cheap and as simple as possible.
“People are ready for real choice and real change in home TV, maybe this year more than ever before,” said T-Mobile CEO Mike Sievert in a statement.
Here’s how the plans break down. Live television addicts will gravitate toward TVision Live, which starts at $40/month for more than 30 channels, including ABC, Bravo, CNN, NBC, ESPN and more. For an additional $10 a month, you can tap into TVision Live+, a sports-centric package that includes The NFL Network, ESPNU and The Golf Channel. At the top of the live streaming hierarchy is TVision Live Zone, which includes all of those other channels plus NFL Red Zone.
But wait, there’s more: TVision VIBE offers live and on-demand programming from channels like AMC, BET, Discovery, MTV and more for $10/month. And if you’d rather not deal with bundles at all, TVision Channels lets you pay for channels like Starz, Showtime and Epix individually.
As far as prices go, T-Mobile has a highly competitive slew of offerings here. Regardless of which plan might appeal to you, you’ll need some additional hardware if you watch to tap into the service on your television. In this case, we’re looking at a $50 device called the TVision Hub, a $50 Android TV-powered streaming dongle that connects to displays via HDMI.
If there’s one notable catch here, it’s that TVision isn’t going live for everyone at once. The news streaming services are expected to launch on Sunday, November 1st, but in waves and only for T-Mobile customers on postpaid plans. Later that month, TVision will become available to the Sprint customers T-Mobile inherited through this year’s massive merger. Only at some indeterminate point next year will TVision become available to anyone who wants it.
That’s partially to help manage the service’s quality as T-Mobile continues to add more users, according to T-Mobile VP of Entertainment (and former Sony Vue chief) Dwayne Benefield. But the other part to that prolonged rollout strategy is about further incentivizing the idea of switching to T-Mobile. Honestly, it’s anyone’s guess how many people would actually switch wireless providers just to access some good deals on streaming content, but we’ll see if T-Mobile’s for-pay approach can lure more customers than the promise of, say, free HBO Max.