AT&T announces mobile TV service launch

AT&T will launch its mobile TV services, months after it originally planned to make the service available. The carrier will use QUALCOMM’s MediaFLO to deliver the service.

The service, dubbed AT&T Mobile TV, will feature live, full-length TV content and sports programming from CBS Mobile, Comedy Central, ESPN Mobile TV, FOX Mobile and MTV, among other popular brands. It will be available in May 2008 on two new handsets, LG Vu and Samsung Access.

Commenting on the deal with AT&T, Gina Lombardi, president of MediaFLO USA, said it would “continue the momentum of making mobile TV a staple for more consumers."

AT&T, like many wireless carriers worldwide, is looking to bolster declining APRUs from its voice services by adding new services to attract customers. It first stated it would deploy a mobile TV service in late 2007, but delayed the launch, keeping mum on the reasons why. Company spokesman Mark Siegel told Reuters that the company waited until May because “it was a brand new service on a brand new network and two brand new devices.”

Industry insiders have speculated the real reason for the delay was AT&T’s concerns over the financial viability of a mobile TV service. Last year saw the launch of Verizon Wireless’s V CAST mobile TV service in the United States, which has had moderate success thus far, but it is not completely clear yet if mobile TV can gain mass-market traction among consumers.

Verizon’s V CAST will likely be AT&T’s chief rival in this sector once the AT&T service launches.

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