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T-Mobile Closes Layer3 TV Acquisition

Moves ahead on ‘disruptive’ OTT TV service that will debut later this year 1/23/2018 10:18 AM Eastern

T-Mobile U.S. said Tuesday (January 23) it has closed its acquisition of Layer3 TV, the Denver-based MVPD that has already launched pay TV services in a handful of U.S. markets.

RELATED: T-Mobile Inks Deal to Acquire Layer3 TV

T-Mobile said it is now moving ahead with a play to launch a “disruptive new TV service” later this year. T-Mobile hasn’t detailed pricing and packaging for what coming, but did set up a web site at www.t-mobile.com/tv, where prospective customers can input contact info and be alerted when an “exclusive offer” from T-Mobile will become available to them in their respective areas.

When the Layer3 TV deal was announced on Dec. 13, 2017, T-Mobile noted that its LTE network will be at the “heart” of its mobile video strategy, but stressed today that its coming service will “work over any internet connection – landline or mobile…”

“We’re not going to give the world another me-too, copycat skinny bundle loaded with tradeoffs,” Mike Sievert, T-Mobile’s COO, promised on a conference call soon after the deal was announced. “They [consumers] don’t want to be stuck with TV on a diet. They want the ability to feast if they want to." 

RELATED: T-Mobile: Our Integrated Mobile/Home Pay TV Play Won’t Be a ‘Me-Too’

“I can’t wait to take the fight to Big Cable and Satellite TV on behalf of consumers everywhere!” T-Mobile president and CEO John Legere said in a statement.

With the deal closed, T-Mobile’s new TV team will be led by Jeff Binder, CEO of Layer3 TV, who is now an EVP at T-Mobile and part of the company’s senior management team. Binder reports to Sievert.

T-Mobile said nearly 200 Layer3 TV employees have joined the company, including execs such as Lindsay Gardner (formerly chief content officer at Layer3 TV), David Fellows (a Layer3 TV co-founder who was also serving as CTO); Amos Smith, a former Time Warner Cable exec who has been serving as Layer 3 TV’s CFO; and Gregg Grigaitis, an exec late of Suddenlink, who has been serving as Layer3 TV’s chief product officer.

Prior to the deal, Layer 3 TV has been focused on in-home, big pay TV packages using advanced interfaces working on gateways and set-top boxes that are all capable of supporting 4K video and integrating select OTT apps/services, including CuriosityStream, Pandora, Xumo, YouTube and iHeartRadio.  

RELATED: Layer3 TV: A Different Kind of  Animal

Layer3 TV currently uses its IP infrastructure to deliver TV service in Los Angeles; Chicago; Washington D.C.; Dallas/Ft. Worth; and Longmont, Colo. (in partnership with a municipal provider called NextLight), and had previously announced plans to introduce service in New York. Layer3 TV has also hinted (via Twitter) at plans to launch service in Philadelphia and San Francisco.

As T-Mobile develops the new TV service, the existing Layer3 TV provide will be available to demo or purchase in select T-Mobile stores in Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C., “in the coming weeks,” the company said.

T-Mobile has yet to disclose the financial terms of the acquisition, but did file SEC documents outlining the Layer 3 TV stock plan. T-Mobile also reiterated that the Layer3 TV acquisition is not expected to impact previously announced company guidance or expectations.

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