AT&T (NYSE: T) said today that it will begin offering Qualcomm's (NSDQ: QCOM) MediaFLO mobile TV service in May. The company provided the details in an e-mail today, saying more information will be available next week at CTIA in Las Vegas. But for now, it says the service will launch in select markets with two exclusive handsets, the LG (SEO: 066570) Vu and the Samsung Access, and plans two name two exclusive channels soon. The service was expected to originally be launched by the end of 2007, and then even in February. Pricing plans are expected to be revealed at the time of its launch.
A spokesman told Reuters, AT&T waited until May to offer the service because it was "a brand new service on a brand new network, and two brand new devices." But analysts wondered if it was taking longer because of weaker consumer demand based on spotty network coverage and the service being limited to a small number of phones. "There's still a question whether consumers are ready to watch a significant amount of TV on their handsets." Stanford Group analyst Michael Nelson told Reuters.
Verizon Wireless (NYSE: VZ) has already been offering MediaFLO for sometime, and based on its uptake, demand has seemed soft. Qualcomm CEO Paul Jacobs told RCR that the growth of mobile TV has been "going slower" than Qualcomm's MediaFlo would like, but put some of the blame on carriers, which he said hadn't spent a lot of advertising on it to this point.
By Tricia Duryee