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Verizon Wireless To Offer Live TV

Bedminster, N.J. — Verizon Wireless announced plans to offer live-TV service to cellular handsets using Qualcomm’s MediaFLO technology, which delivers multiple channels of digital TV over the 700MHz band to handsets equipped with MediaFLO receivers.

MediaFLO would enable cable networks such as FOX News to distribute their programs live and in real time to cellular users. A rival technology developed by Crown Castle would operate in the 1.6GHz band and is currently being given a trial in Pittsburgh over GSM cellular networks. Both technologies would allow carriers to offer live-TV service without tying up cellular channels.

Verizon signed a letter of intent with Qualcomm to offer TV service based on Qualcomm’s technology. Although a launch date hasn’t been set, Verizon noted that Qualcomm expects to ship infrastructure to carriers by the end of 2006.

Verizon plans to offer live TV service within markets where it operates its CDMA 1x EV-DO network, which currently enables subscribers to Vcast service to download short videos and access other advanced services. The carrier would offer MediaFLO-enabled EV-DO handsets.

Sprint PCS already offers some live-TV programming using its cellular frequencies.