AT&T To Launch MediaFlo Mobile TV Service In May
Dow Jones

NEW YORK -(Dow Jones)- AT&T Inc. (T) said it would launch its long-anticipated mobile television service, powered by Qualcomm Inc.'s (QCOM) MediaFlo technology, in May.

The move, which comes ahead of next week's CTIA Wireless industry trade show, represents another feature beyond voice calls and text messages that carriers are pushing in the hopes of augmenting their revenue streams.

The launch of the service comes more than a year after AT&T initially hooked up with Qualcomm. It also follows Verizon Wireless, which brought out the service a year ago.

The service will be available on two phones: the LG Electronics Inc. ( 066570.SE) Vu and the Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. (005930.SE) Access. In addition to standard channels such as Comedy Central and ESPN, AT&T boasts two exclusive channels, but declined to name them.

MediaFlo broadcasts live video and audio streams over the air, which are then captured by handsets with specifically designed Qualcomm chipsets. Unlike other mobile video streaming methods, MediaFlo doesn't use a carrier's wireless spectrum and is less taxing on the network. Instead, the broadcasts are beamed via spectrum Qualcomm owns.

The carriers have said in the past that a broadcast model is more economical than streaming long video clips on demand.

Qualcomm had recently beefed up its ability to broadcast the video signals by buying additional wireless licenses in the just concluded Federal Communications Commission spectrum auction. Part of the reason why the deployment of MediaFlo has been slow is because of the lack of spectrum in certain regions.

- By Roger Cheng, Dow Jones Newswires; 201-938-2020;

  (END) Dow Jones Newswires
  03-27-08 1640ET
  Copyright (c) 2008 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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