Microsoft last week announced a partnership with Virgin Mobile and the British Telecom Group to launch a mobile TV service in the United Kingdom.
For several months BT has been building a network, called BT Movio, to broadcast digital television content over mobile phone networks. The first mobile operator to distribute the BT network was Virgin Mobile. The two companies conducted a four-month trial last year with about 1000 users in London.
Now, with Microsoft as an investor, Virgin Mobile plans to expand the service this summer, CNET News reported. At least five TV stations will be part of the expanded launch.
The service will work on a new phone called the Virgin Triliogy, which was developed jointly by BT, TTPCom and HTC, one of the world’s biggest design manufacturers for mobile devices. The phone will run Windows Mobile 5.0 and will have one-button access to live digital television.
In the United States Verizon Wireless, Cingular Wireless and Sprint Nextel are already offering mobile TV service. But most experts agree that current 3G technology won’t be sufficient to handle large volumes of live TV viewing. As a result, several companies, including BT, are developing separate networks that can handle video traffic.