By Staff On Sep 19 2005 - 6:00am

Universal Music Phone Seen

Encinitas, Calif. — Universal Music is teaming up with Single Touch Interactive to market a music-themed prepaid phone in time for the holidays.

The Universal handset, branded MoveU, will offer access to content from top music artists, including music downloads, ringtones and wallpaper. Single Touch will provide the airtime service, retailers and marketing services for the device.

Single Touch has already teamed up with Mattel to offer a Nokia-made prepaid Barbie phone and in late 2004 launched a Hilary Duff prepaid phone with preloaded wallpaper and ringtones.

STI began as a BREW application developer in 2001 and now offers end-to-end solutions for partners.

Carriers Cleared Of Antitrust

New York — A federal judge here ruled that wireless carriers aren't engaging in antitrust practices by tying the sale of a handset to a service package.

Verizon Wireless, Cingular Wireless, AT&T Wireless, Sprint and T-Mobile USA were sued by New York attorney Scott Burser in 2002 on behalf of two customers alleging U.S. carriers were conspiring to stifle customer mobility by illegally tying handsets to phone service.

U.S. District Judge Denise Cote wrote in her decision that the plaintiffs didn't present evidence that any individual carrier “has the degree of market power necessary to sustain a tying claim or show tying arrangements has an actual adverse effect on competition in the U.S. market for wireless handsets.”

Video Audience Small

Dallas — The initial audience for watching wireless video downloads and live TV on PDAs and cellphones is small but enthusiastic, according to a Parks Associates survey of Internet households.

The study, based on a survey of more than 2,000 U.S. Internet users, found that 13 percent of people who own one or more portable devices would like live TV integrated into them. A total of 12 percent see watching videos such as movie trailers and full-length movies as important.

“The percentages of consumers interested in mobile video/TV services are smaller than those for other functions such as taking photos and listening to music,” said Yuanzhe Cai, senior analyst at Parks. “But there is a group of hard-core mobile entertainment enthusiasts who are very motivated. Either they have already adopted a portable device with video playback functions or are very eager to add live TV support to their mobile devices.”

“Portable multimedia players, portable gaming players and video phones may soon be competing for these hardcore enthusiasts,” Cai said. “Portable multimedia players have a head start, but cellular carriers could offer a variety of business models to offset this advantage, including on-demand viewing of news clips and sport highlights or access to real-time content such as breaking news.”

Among those who value prerecorded video service, close to 30 percent already own a portable device that serves this need, and 7 percent would be interested in getting it. For those who value mobile TV-viewing, 10 percent already have a capable device, and close to a one-fourth, 24 percent, have very strong desire to add such a function.

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