As the wireless business heads into the perilously capex-intensive 5G future, though, it’s actually the so-called New T-Mobile, fresh off its $30 billion purchase of Sprint, that might have the inside track to the video business.
Certain T-Mobile customers will get a free yearlong subscription to Quibi, the companies said Thursday, in a move that should boost early users of the ambitious streaming service debuting April 6 in a crowded streaming market. Under the deal, T-Mobile customers who have two or more voice lines with T-Mobile will get a free yearlong subscription to Quibi’s ad-supported tier, which normally will cost $4.99 each month (the ad-free version is $7.99). Interested T-Mobile customers can sign up between April 2 and July 7 to get the offering added to their plan for no additional cost for the first year.
The FCC has issued the text of its decision approving the merger of T-Mobile and Sprint. That came in the form of a Memorandum Opinion and Order, Declaratory Ruling, and Order of Proposed Modification. The FCC modified some build-out requirements on Dish spectrum as part of the spin-off of the merged company’s Boost Mobile prepaid operations to the satellite operator.
The FCC today voted along party lines to approve the $26 billion merger between T-Mobile and Sprint, meaning the deal has received the full blessing of the U.S. government. But the merger is still facing a significant obstacle as more than a dozen state attorneys general forge ahead in their lawsuit to block the deal.
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai on Wednesday circulated a draft order that would grant approval to the $26 billion tie-up of T-Mobile Us Inc. and Sprint Corp.
Dish says it will combine $5 billion in assets being spun off from the Sprint-T-Mobile merger with its own vast reserves of wireless spectrum to compete head-on with AT&T, Verizon and Sprint-T-Mobile. “We’ve been here before,” said Dish CEO Charlie Ergen. “When we entered pay-TV with the launch of our first satellite in 1995, we faced entrenched cable monopolies, and our direct competitor was owned by one of the largest industrial corporations in the world.”
Sprint and T-Mobile combined would approach the size of Verizon and AT&T. The companies have argued that bulking up will mean a better next-generation “5G” wireless network than they could make on their own.
The cable operator submitted a proposal to the Justice Department to buy certain assets being spun off by the merger of the two wireless companies, but never heard back from the agency, three sources familiar with the matter said. Instead, Justice opted for a plan to sell the assets to Dish. Justice is expected to greenlight the merger.
As part of the agreement settling DOJ’s antitrust concerns, the merging companies would spin off assets to Dish that would facilitate its entry into the wireless market as a new No. 4. The arrangement provides for Dish to acquire prepaid subscribers and wireless licenses from the merger partners, the Wall Street Journal says citing unnamed sources. Dish would also get a multiyear agreement to use the wireless companies’ network while it builds its own infrastructure.
If the Department of Justice is going to allow T-Mobile to merge with Sprint, it’s going to need more concessions from Deutsche Telekom. The German telecommunications company that will control a combined T-Mobile/Sprint is in talks with both Dish Network and the DOJ on the parameters of a divestiture and spectrum-hosting agreement that will prop up Dish as a new U.S. wireless competitor. Deutsche Telekom, Dish and the DOJ are close to an agreement, and a deal could be finalized by next week, according to people familiar with the matter.
Former Democratic FCC commissioner Mignon Clyburn is advising T-Mobile and Sprint on their proposed $26 billion merger as the two companies seek regulatory approval from her former agency. She said that she sees the work as a continuation of her efforts in government to expand internet access to hard-to-reach and overlooked communities.
T-Mobile and the Dallas NBC O&O announced an agreement to accelerate the repacking of the station’s 600 MHz spectrum in North Texas and surrounding areas. KXAS will move to its new frequency in late May, more than a year earlier than the FCC deadline of June 21, 2019. The agreement allows KXAS to move to its new frequency and maximize its coverage area earlier than anticipated.
T-Mobile, the nation’s No. 3 wireless carrier, said today that it bought startup Layer3 TV to help it roll out a nationwide TV service next year. The service will target people who aren’t interested in traditional cable and satellite TV packages. T-Mobile didn’t disclose how much it paid for Layer3, which is available in five U.S. cities.
T-Mobile, which last month used the six-second format to promote its hurricane relief efforts during Fox’s coverage of the World Series, said results suggest that the short-form spots boosted viewer engagement metrics such as brand recall, likability and message recall.
WWOR New York will repack in early 2018, more than a year sooner than the originally proposed FCC deadline of August 2019, and will do it for much less.
The Sinclair subsidiary says that the carrier’s suggestion that broadcasters want an FCC mandate requiring cellphone makers to put ATSC 3.0 tuners in their phones is a “red herring.” “Nothing mandates that T-Mobile incorporate Next Gen TV capabilities in devices designed for T-Mobile’s customers,” it says. However, it also says, contrary to T-Mobile’s claims, tuners could be installed in phones.
Given the “detrimental effects” of including ATSC 3.0 chips and antennas in cellphones, the wireless carrier argues in a 10-page “white paper” that the FCC should not mandate that device makers install them. “The decision as to whether to include ATSC 3.0 in a device must be left to the market to decide.”
T-Mobile says it is offering to pay moving costs for low-power stations “that operate on a secondary basis and are unable to obtain a permanent channel in time to accommodate T-Mobile’s rapid deployment of broadband service in the 600 MHz band.”
T-Mobile has committed to covering the costs for local public television low-power facilities that are required to relocate to new broadcasting frequencies following the government’s recent spectrum incentive auction.
By now, most broadcasters should be quite familiar with the FCC’s 10 phases for repacking television spectrum. Karl Voss, chief engineer of KAET Phoenix, says they better get up to speed fast on what he calls “Phase Zero” — any channel in 600 MHz or above that is not protected.
Wireless carrier T-Mobile has big plans for its newly acquired 600 MHz spectrum — a nationwide 5G network deployment by 2020. However, there’s a hitch. The repack of the TV band needed to clear the spectrum for wireless use won’t be finished until the middle of that year. So, the wireless carrier is trying to speed up the repack by enticing some stations to move their new channels earlier than required.
NAB’s Patrick McFadden: T-Mobile “has a small problem with accuracy, or what some might call the truth. Let’s not forget that T-Mobile is the company that went to absurd lengths in stomping its magenta sneakers about the need for the FCC to set aside spectrum in the incentive auction for everyone not named AT&T and Verizon, going so far as to come up with the world’s most pathetic superhero movie to try to make its point.”
Of the $19,768 billion in gross proceeds bid in the auction, those two companies alone accounted for some $14.2 billion — or approximately 72% — of the winning bids. Other major winners in the auction included Comcast, which spent $1,724 billion.
The biggest spenders in the FCC’s $19.8 billion TV spectrum incentive auction were T-Mobile with $8 billion, satellite TV company Dish Network at $6.2 billion and Comcast with $1.7 billion.
The Parents Television Council said today it has contacted T-Mobile to urge the company to reconsider sponsoring Fox’s The Mick, a new sitcom that PTC says “routinely features minors smoking, drinking, swearing and having sex.” T-Mobile has advertised in six out of nine episodes, which aired as early as 7:30 p.m. in half the country. “We […]
Howard Symons of the FCC’s Incentive Auction Task Force says that work is proceeding apace on a computer program that will calculate when stations have to move to their new channels in the TV band repacking that will follow the incentive auction. He promises ample opportunities for broadcasters and other stakeholders to vet the program this summer and suggest changes. What is unlikely to change, however, is the time for completing the entire repack. “At this point, we see no reason that 39 months won’t work.”
Antenna and RF component manufacturer Electronics Research Inc. is on track to increase its antenna production capacity by 800% before the end of the year after entering into an agreement with wireless provider T-Mobile to facilitate the expansion. Above, an aerial view of ERI’s Chandler, Ind., antenna manufacturing facility. The company plans to add three new buildings and more than 100 employees by year’s end. (ERI photo)
Electronics Research Inc. will work with T-Mobile to ensure the availability of equipment and installation crews to accelerate completion of the mandated television channel changes following the conclusion of the FCC’s broadcast incentive auction.
The bickering in Washington over how long TV broadcasters should have to move to new channels after the incentive auction has not been productive. It’s time for the FCC to listen to AT&T and NAB, dump the current 39-month deadline and adopt a regional phase-in approach. It makes the most sense for wireless carriers as well as for broadcasters and their viewers. For once, let reason prevail.
Digital Tech Consulting takes issue with T-Mobile’s contention that 39 months and $1.75 billion will be adequate to insure a smooth repack following the FCC’s incentive auction.
The trade group says T-Mobile’s earlier study supporting the government-mandated time frame and cost of relocating broadcasters following the spectrum incentive auction is wrong. NAB picks apart some of the specific findings, namely, the utility of broadband antennas and the availability of qualified and trusted tower crews.
NAB is pressing Congress for more time and money for broadcasters to move to new channels following the spectrum incentive auction this spring, but key policymakers are signaling that such relief will not come, if it comes at all, until after the incentive auction when the full dimensions of band repacking are better known.
The wireless carrier, which is expected to bid for spectrum in the FCC’s spectrum auction, says that there are no grounds for NAB’s request for more time and money to move to new channels in the post-auction repacking of the TV band. According to its study, the carrier says, the current deadline (39 months) and reimbursement fund ($1.75 billion) are more than enough.
T-Mobile already exempts many streaming music services from data limits, but now it says streaming video from Netflix, HBO and other leading services will no longer count toward data limits under T-Mobile’s higher data plans.
Dish Network Corp. is in talks with banks about funding a bid for T-Mobile U.S. Inc. that would include as much as $15 billion in cash, in the latest sign the takeover effort is progressing. Dish is considering borrowing between $10 billion and $15 billion for the cash portion of a bid that would primarily be composed of its stock, according to people familiar with the matter.
Dish Network Corp. is in talks to merge with T-Mobile US Inc., people familiar with the matter said, a deal that would accelerate a wave of consolidation across the U.S. media and communications industries. The two sides are in close agreement about what the combined company would look like, with Dish CEO Charlie Ergen becoming the company’s chairman and his T-Mobile counterpart, John Legere, serving as the combined company’s CEO, the people said.