Benefield honchoes T-Mobile’s latest effort to disrupt an industry: a low-cost, no-contract OTT skinny bundle that notably expands the wireless carrier’s services.
TVision is a suite of offerings priced between $10 and $60 a month, targeting different TV-watching audiences, with optional Android TV-based hardware, a free year of Apple TV Plus, and even a $99 deal on the Apple TV 4K. Benefield calls the various tiers “right-sized lineups featuring the content they love most,” backed by support from “real humans” in thousands of T-Mobile retail outlets, online and on the phone.
TVision launched Nov. 1 for T-Mobile customers, with more tranches to come, and the promise that prices would stay low, tech support human and contracts non-existent. A licensed pilot since he was 16, Benefield must navigate those sometimes conflicting promises and make TVision a sustainable part of the T-Mobile portfolio. That’s proved difficult for competitors, including Benefield’s former employer, Sony, where he presided for five years over its skinny bundle, PlayStation Vue, which shuttered in January.
Benefield joined T-Mobile just as it wrapped up a transformative merger with Sprint, adjusted to new CEO Mike Sievert, and accelerated buildout of its hugely important 5G network.
According to Benefield, “5G has the potential to change the mobile-viewing experience by allowing even faster load times, faster download speeds, seamless playback, and reduced playback delays. As 5G evolves, it will deliver lower latency for a better interactive experience and more efficiency through multicasting.”
A Wharton grad, Benefield worked at Disney and Google before Sony. Now, he’s charged with helping T-Mobile navigate a fast-changing sector far from its carrier, or even “un-carrier” roots.
“As people return to work, we expect the time spent watching TV to continue to exceed pre-pandemic levels, and the manner in which they watch, including more mobile and interactive viewing, to forever change,” he added.
Just ahead, TVision’s part in delivering another Sievert promise, 5G-based wireless home internet, to rival the cable powerhouses and deliver to areas they can’t reach. T-Mobile plans to have in-home internet in more than half of U.S. households by 2026.
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David Bloom of Words & Deeds Media is a Santa Monica, Calif.-based writer, podcaster, and consultant focused on the transformative collision of technology, media and entertainment. Bloom is a senior contributor to numerous publications, and producer/host of the Bloom in Tech podcast. He has taught digital media at USC School of Cinematic Arts, and guest lectures regularly at numerous other universities. Bloom formerly worked for Variety, Deadline, Red Herring, and the Los Angeles Daily News, among other publications; was VP of corporate communications at MGM; and was associate dean and chief communications officer at the USC Marshall School of Business. Bloom graduated with honors from the University of Missouri School of Journalism.