T-Mobile CMO hints at video content plans, video chat service
SAN FRANCISCO--According to a top company executive, T-Mobile USA is considering services that would deliver faster and more comprehensive video services to subscribers and is also looking at ways to offer interoperable video calling services.
In comments at the Open Mobile Summit here, T-Mobile's Andrew Sherrard said the carrier is looking at ways to deliver video content more quickly and in a simpler format. Sherrard, T-Mobile's CMO, said that effort could cover both video optimization on the network side and aggregating content from the likes of Netflix and Hulu on the video provider side. However, Sherrard made clear that T-Mobile is simply focusing on this area and that the carrier doesn't have anything specific to announce.
It's unclear exactly what types of services Sherrard is contemplating. Already, T-Mobile resells MobiTV's mobile TV service under the "T-Mobile TV" brand. T-Mobile could be considering a service similar to Verizon Wireless' (NYSE:VZ) Viewdini offering, which is powered by CBS Interactive's TV.com and aggregates movies, television series and digital programming from content providers including ABC, Comcast Xfinity, Crackle, Funny or Die, Hulu Plus, mSpot and Netflix. Users can search Viewdini by title, subject or celebrity name to identify which services offer content for streaming; the service also specifies whether the desired video is available at no additional charge, by subscription, to rent or for purchase.
As for video calling, Sherrard said T-Mobile is looking for ways to better integrate video communications in the same way that wireless carriers pushed the SMS market by ensuring cross-carrier interoperability. Although he didn't provide details, Sherrard seemed to be implying that T-Mobile would work to support interoperable video calling services. Today, most video calling services currently do not interoperate--Skype users cannot call FaceTime users, for example.
When questioned whether T-Mobile would support Rich Communications Services, a technology that has been discussed as a way to ensure video calling interoperability, Sherrard was noncommittal. "RCS is a big opportunity," Sherrard said, but declined to discuss whether T-Mobile would launch RCS-powered video calling services.
The GSMA is supporting RCS under the joyn brand as a way to advance wireless carrier messaging services. MetroPCS recently launched RCS services, including video calling over Wi-Fi, under the joyn brand.
Sherrard did note that T-Mobile has long played in the video calling space. He pointed to the carrier's 2010 deal with Qik for a T-Mobile Video Chat service that integrates with users' Android address books. Qik was acquired by Skype in 2011, and Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) acquired Skype earlier this year.
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