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AT&T’s Cingular to Launch Live Mobile TV

AT&T’s Cingular Wireless, the largest U.S. wireless operator, plans to launch a live mobile-TV service in late 2007 using the MediaFLO USA dedicated wireless network, the companies said Monday.

Cingular, which has almost 61 million wireless subscribers, becomes the second carrier to sign on to MediaFLO USA’s platform. Verizon Wireless last month announced plans to launch a similar mobile-TV service with the Qualcomm unit by the end of March.

AT&T spokesman Mark Siegel said key details of the Cingular mobile-TV service haven’t been determined yet, including pricing and the markets in which it will be available. Verizon Wireless hasn’t announced pricing or availability either.

The Cingular service will carry the basic lineup of channels from MediaFLO USA, which has signed agreements to provide live mobile channels from MTV Networks, ESPN, NBC Universal, CBS and Fox.

In addition, Siegel said, Cingular’s live mobile-TV service will provide two channels that will be available exclusively to its subscribers. But “the content is still to be determined,” he added.

Siegel noted that Cingular plans to keep its existing video services, which include TV programming delivered by MobiTV and video-on-demand clips. “This is a complement to, not a replacement of, our current offering,” he added.

Besides live TV, Cingular expects to tap other features of MediaFLO USA’s platform, including multicast video-clip distribution, a “datacasting” application for real-time information and audio services.

AT&T, which completed its acquisition of BellSouth in late 2006, said last month that it will phase out the Cingular brand.