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Crown Castle Announces Live Mobile TV Plans

Crown Castle formally announced its plans this week to launch live mobile TV services to 30 markets nationwide later this year.

The Houston-based company, better known for its tower business, deploys, owns and operates and extensive network of towers which it plans to use to broadcast its DVB-H (Digital Video Broadcast-Handheld) signals to cell phones and mobile devices. The launch, scheduled later this year is planned for major U.S. markets including New York City.

Crown Castle also announced that it has changed the name of its wireless division to "Modeo" and demonstrated its technology on Nokia and Motorola products at CES in Las Vegas. Last year, the company conducted beta tests of the service in Pittsburgh.

Modeo is targeting a market that is expected to exceed $1.5 billion by 2009, according to several industry analysts. The company is joining an already expanding market that includes major wireless providers such as Verizon and Sprint offering video broadcasts to mobile devices. Another competitor to the Modeo service is Qualcomm's MediaFlo service. Qualcomm has already signed up Verizon Wireless for the service, which is expected to launch this fall.

Modeo content is expected to be a mix of live video and audio channels and will also support podcasts. The video is described as "digital broadcast" at QVGA resolution at up to 30 fps. Subscription fees are expected to cost about $15-$20 per month and separate audio subscriptions would cost $7-$9 per month, according to Reuters.