T-Mobile bets big on Google services and Pixel phones

T-Mobile bets big on Google services and Pixel phones

T-Mobile has announced a new partnership with Google that will see the carrier provide greater support for Google’s services and devices. Hiroshi Lockheimer, Senior Vice President of Platforms and Ecosystems at Google, described today’s news as a win for Android users, and an “even greater win for the Android ecosystem.”

The new agreement (via The Verge) means T-Mobile’s Android devices will come with several Google services pre-installed, including Google Messages (with RCS) and Google One. T-Mobile will also drop its own TV services in favor of YouTube TV while expanding support and sales of Pixel devices.

T-Mobile said it has the most Android smartphone customers in the U.S., making today’s multi-year collaboration a big commitment toward reinforcing its investment in the Android ecosystem. If you remember, T-Mobile was the first carrier to launch a smartphone powered by Android, which wound up being the T-Mobile G1.

It’s huge for Google, too. Not only will its services be more prominently displayed for Android users. But Google’s line of Pixel devices will reach an audience where Android is already popular, potentially setting the stage for Pixel phones to be more successful against the likes of Samsung’s Galaxy line.

Maybe the biggest part of today’s news is T-Mobile making YouTube TV the default live streaming option. That means T-Mobile will wind down its Live, Live Plus, and Live Zone services. These services were only just announced at the end of last year as part of its TVision initiative. T-Mobile said that customers who opt for YouTube TV will be offered $10 off the regular price for a limited time, which comes out to $54.99 per month. Philo, meanwhile, will act as T-Mobile’s new base live TV service starting at $10 per month.

“This shift may surprise some given last year’s TVision streaming services launch,” said T-Mobile CEO Mike Sievert. “But innovation seldom follows a straight line. Since launching the TVision initiative, we’ve learned a lot about the TV industry, about streaming products, and of course, about TV customers. We also saw trends that made us take a fresh look at how to best do in video what we always do: put customers first.”

The news comes on the heels of a new Magenta MAX plan announced by T-Mobile, which offers unlimited data at unthrottled 5G speeds.

Photo by Mika Baumeister on Unsplash

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Brandon Russell
Brandon Russell

Brandon's love of technology can be traced back to his childhood, when he would obsessively watch Back to the Future. Since then he's followed the industry and its many innovations, from handheld consoles to powerful smartphones. He's still waiting on a hoverboard.