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US mobile phone companies begin offering TV broadcasts
2005-01-26 06:24:23 XinhuaEnglish

LOS ANGELES, Jan. 25(Xinhuanet)-- Major US cell phone operators are providing customers with the wireless equivalent of cable TV in the largest expansion yet to cover more than half of cell phone users.

Cingular Wireless began selling MobiTV on Tuesday, making scores of shows available for 10 US dollars a month plus the cost of download.

In a week, Cingular's rival Verizon will also launch its vCast,a mobile television service for 15 dollars per month, in 32 cities and on a small number of devices.

Analysts have warned that some operators' slow wireless networks mean consumers may have to endure the occasional"slide show" effect that turns what is supposed to be full motion into just a succession of photos.

But Verizon Wireless spokesman Jeff Nelson insisted that vCast,delivered at the speed of a slow digital subscriber line, does nothave this problem.

Cell phone operators are turning to TV to boost sales of wireless broadband services to make up for revenue lost to price-cutting as years of aggressive competition drove down the cost of handsets and voice minutes.

But US sales of such features have been disappointing because, unlike in Asia and Europe, Americans are more apt to turn to theirPCs to surf the Internet, market analyst In-Stat said.

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