Verizon Wireless, the No. 2 U.S. cell phone service, plans to start delivering live television to mobile phones early next year using a network being built by Crown Castle International Corp., an analyst said on Monday.
Verizon Wireless, a venture of Verizon Communications and Vodafone Group Plc, already sends on-demand news and entertainment video clips to mobile phones as part of its effort to expand its services beyond voice phone calls.
Zachary Research analyst Patrick Comack said in a note to clients on Monday that Verizon Wireless plans to add to its media line-up by using tower operator Crown Castle's network to send live TV to its phones in the first quarter of 2006.
Citing an engineer from Crown Castle and other unnamed sources, Comack said the tower operator plans to cover the top 30 U.S. markets with a live television network and that Verizon Wireless plans to deliver live TV using the network.
Comack said "it was clear after our discussions with various parties ... that (Verizon Wireless) chose Crown Castle."
Crown Castle or Verizon Wireless were not immediately available for comment on Monday.
Both Crown Castle, which transmits and receives phone calls via its wireless broadcast towers, and cellphone technology firm Qualcomm Inc. are building live TV networks with an aim to sending TV to the customers of mobile services.
The idea is to save airwaves space on wireless carrier networks as Verizon and its rivals are hoping to boost their revenue by carrying everything from e-mails to music over their networks, along with conventional mobile phone calls.
Qualcomm has said it expects to launch its U.S. network with at least one carrier customer in October of next year but neither it nor Crown Castle has named any customers. source