Apple is reportedly holding discussions with United Kingdom-based British Telecom (BT) over a partnership that would make BT's mobile brand EE a "major distributor" of Apple TV devices. Specifically, the telecommunications brand would offer Apple TVs to EE customers, coming pre-loaded with apps that deliver pay-TV content like BT Sport and channels from other broadcasters (via The Telegraph).
For Apple, the deal would get Apple TVs into the hands of more customers and increase the potential viewership for its upcoming slate of original TV programming, expected in 2019. While BT has invested in building its own set-top boxes to compete with Apple, Amazon, and Sky, BT consumer chief Marc Allera kicked off a new strategy earlier in May to begin "forging deeper partnerships with technology giants."
Apple's partnership with BT is said to be similar to the company's existing deal in Switzerland with telecoms operator and pay-TV provider Salt. Apple has also partnered with Verizon, which will offer customers an Apple TV 4K as part of its residential broadband package coming to four cities this year.
In regards to Apple's original programming, the first of Apple's television shows could debut as soon as March of 2019, potentially through a new video streaming service subscription. The company is also reportedly considering a single subscription bundle offering customers access to TV, Apple Music, and digital magazines (through its Texture acquisition).