New York (NY) - AT&T announced today that it will launch its mobile TV serivce on Sunday. Set to compete directly with Verizon’s V Cast TV, AT&T will allow users to watch live video programming, some of which is a direct simulcast from cable TV, for $15 a month.
Qualcomm, which also operates Verizon’s service, is the technical backbone for AT&T’s live mobile TV structure. Qualcomm’s MediaFlo technology allows mobile spectrum to access a separate set of airwaves that carry TV signals specific to cell phone reception.
AT&T’s service will carry many of the same channels already available on Verizon, including CBS Mobile, ESPN Mobile TV, Comedy Central, NBC 2 Go, and MTV. However, it also has two exclusive channels - CNN Mobile Live and "Pix," a movie preview channel featuring Sony Pictures content.
Another player in the mobile TV market is Sprint. However, it relies mostly on video-on-demand clips and only offers limited live TV streaming.
AT&T previously had a similar, though less formalized mobile video service. Its new and improved service will launch in 58 markets when it goes live Sunday, including New York, Los Angeles and Chicago.
The service’s $15/month price tag is identical to what Verizon charges. Verizon does still have a leg up on compatible handsets, though. Initially, the only AT&T devices that will work with the mobile TV service are the touch-screen "Vu" phone from LG and Samsung’s "Access" phone, both of which will also launch on Sunday.
Mobile TV is expected to get a boost when the digital TV switch happens in February of next year. Many handset manufacturers have revealed plans about using that big change-over in media airwaves to their advantage.