AT&T MediaFlo Cell Phone Service Announced

MediaFlo USA, a unit of Qualcomm, will be offered to AT&T customers using the Vu phone from LG Electronics and the Access from Samsung Electronics beginning in May 2008.

AT&T, the largest US mobile carrier, will offer everything from music to Web surfing to improve its revenue as phone call prices fall. The cell phone carrier had originally said it would offer the service by the end of 2007. The company plans to disclose its pricing at the time of its service launch.

Spokesman Mark Siegel said AT&T waited until May to offer the service as it was “a brand new service on a brand new network, and two brand new devices.”

AT&T’s service arrives about a year after its biggest rival Verizon Wireless, a venture of Verizon Communications and Vodafone Group Plc, started selling MediaFlo, which is broadcast live over a network built by chip maker Qualcomm.

Qualcomm, which sells technology licenses and chips for phones offering high-speed Web links, built the network to help kick-start the market for live television.

However, some analysts said that mobile television was taking longer than some expected to take off partly due to weaker-than-expected consumer demand as the service does not cover the entire country or operate on all phones.

“There’s still a question whether consumers are ready to watch a significant amount of TV on their handsets.” said Stanford Group analyst Michael Nelson.

The AT&T MediaFlo content will include full-length shows from CBS, Comedy Central, ESPN Mobile TV, Fox, MTV, NBC 2GO, NBC News2Go and Nickelodeon.