Cingular Adds a TV-Clips Service

Cingular Wireless joined fellow carriers Verizon Wireless and Sprint Nextel Corp. in the growing mobile-video derby last week, unveiling a video-clips broadband service in 16 markets.

The Cingular Video service seems to have borrowed a page from the cable-television business. It offers a lineup of one- to four-minute video clips from 17 cable TV — channels ranging from ESPN to Disney Channel to Cable News Network — on a basic tier, accessed with a $19.99-per-month unlimited-data plan.

There’s also a premium tier featuring exclusive clips from Home Box Office for $4.99 per month and HBO Family Mobile for $2.99 monthly.

The service, riding on the Atlanta-based mobile carrier’s broadband Universal Mobile Telecommunications Service (UMTS) network, is now available in Austin, Texas; Baltimore; Boston; Chicago; Dallas; Houston; Las Vegas; Phoenix; Portland, Ore.; Salt Lake City; San Diego, San Francisco and San Jose, Calif.; Seattle and Tacoma, Wash., and Washington, D.C.

Cingular plans to build out its UMTS network in 100 cities by year’s end, and as each market comes on line, Cingular Video will debut with it, according to Sam Hall, vice president of Cingular’s mobile browse and developer program.

Cingular Video will stress on-demand content aimed at people who have a few minutes to kill in their day, Hall said.

“This is better suited for the person standing in line at Starbucks and has two minutes to kill or waiting for a bus or at the airport,” Hall said. “We essentially thought, 'What would you want to do if you had five minutes to kill?’ and that was essentially the filter we used, in terms of what types of content we go after and how do we produce that content to make sense in a mobile environment.”