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T-Mobile Snags Viacom Nets for In-Home Broadband Play

T-Mobile has struck a deal with Viacom to deliver its content-- MTV, Nickelodeon, Comedy Central, BET, Paramount--as part of a mobile video service to launch later this year. 

The carrier has promised Washington regulators that if it is allowed to merge with Sprint, it will be taking on traditional cable in the in-home broadband space. 

The company says its news service is designed to "replace cable for the 5G era" and "enables the Un-carrier to bring together live linear feeds of Viacom channels as well as a broad range of on-demand content to serve T-Mobile’s nearly 80 million customers."

Related: T-Mobile Uses In-Home Test to Push Sprint Deal

“Today’s landmark announcement marks a major step forward in our strategy to accelerate the presence of our brands on mobile and other next-generation platforms," said Viacom president Bob Bakish, "and we’re so excited to partner with T-Mobile to provide millions of subscribers with access to our networks and more choice in a new service that will be unlike any other in the market.” 

T-Mobile's announcement includes the caveat that its plans could change depending on whether the deal is approved and whether there are conditions on the deal. 

They continue to push for its merger with Sprint by emphasizing the uncarrier angle, particularly when it comes to becoming a disruptor in home (fixed wireless) space.

The company sent out an email two weeks ago trumpeting its new pilot home internet test, available to a limited number of its existing customers "by invitation only." 

T-Mobile has been billing the merger in Washington as a chance to provide new in-home competition to the "Big Cable" broadband providers, a goal of the FCC, which is vetting the deal. It is also positioning the test in rural and underserved areas. Closing the rural digital divide is another FCC priority. 

The announcement comes as Viacom wrapped up a carriage deal with AT&T after its nets were removed from DirecTV Now, the live-streamed pay TV service. Those nets are returning to AT&T April 5.

T-Mobile bought over-the-top pay TV provider Layer3 last year, which it is using to provide its mobile in-home video offerings. 

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.