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T-Mobile to launch pay-TV service in 2018

NEW YORK  - T-Mobile (TMUS) says it's launching a pay-TV service next year, becoming the latest company to marry wireless and video.

The nation's No. 3 wireless carrier said Wednesday that it bought cable-TV startup Layer3 TV to help it roll out its upcoming service. T-Mobile didn't disclose how much it paid for Layer3, which is available in five U.S. cities.

In a call with analysts to discuss the new service, T-Mobile CEO John Legere said the TV business is ripe for change, calling it the "most hated" industry in America.

"People post around 4,000 complaints about big cable and satellite TV every single day on social media. That's like 1.5 million complaints a year, and those are just the public ones. Eight of the 10 brands with the absolute lowest customer satisfaction scores are cable and TV providers."

T-Mobile, which in October ended merger talks Sprint (S) after failing to agree on which side would have majority ownership, has shaken up the wireless industry by largely getting rid of two-year phone contracts and helping bring back unlimited-data plans.

T-Mobile has already taken steps to connect its wireless business to video as the telecom, tech and media industries grow closer together. For instance, many T-Mobile wireless customers are getting Netflix for free.

Legere said cable companies are holding consumers "hostage with contracts that lock them in, confusing, sky-high bills and insane hidden fees, bundles people don't want or need, and the worst customer service on the planet, maybe all planets."

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