British mobile operator Virgin Mobile has announced the launch of its new mobile TV service, Virgin Mobile TV, and confirmed the that it will be offering a selection of premium channels and programming to Virgin Mobile TV viewers, starting on 1st October 2006.
Virgin Mobile TV will broadcast BBC One, ITV1, Channel 4 and E4, offering consumers a range of high-profile channels and TV programmes. Customers who have a Virgin Mobile ‘Tellyphone’ will be able to watch their favourite TV programmes and listen to DAB digital radio wherever they are. BBC One will be available on a trial basis for 12 months and will be provided free to consumers.
The service, which is provided by BT’s wholesale mobile broadcast entertainment service, BT Movio, will also broadcast DAB digital radio, offer ‘red-button’ interactivity and features an exclusive seven-day electronic programme guide (EPG).
Virgin Mobile TV can be viewed on the Virgin Mobile Lobster 700 Mobile TV phone, which will be available from 1st October through Virgin Mobile Stores within Virgin Megastores and WHSmiths, plus on-line.
Virgin Mobile offers the mobile TV phone and service for free for customers on a contract of £25 a month or more, for the life of their contract. The phone is available on pre-pay for £199, when the service will be free for an initial three-month period, followed by a charge of £5 a month.
Virgin Mobile’s TV service broadcasts TV live over the DAB digital frequency spectrum, which currently covers more than 85% of the UK population. The Lobster 700 Mobile TV phone is the first DAB-IP-enabled handset, and was created by Taiwanese company HTC.
The handset is Virgin Mobile’s first Windows Mobile Smartphone, offering Windows Mobile functionality and Windows Media Player. The device is the first in a series of mobile phones being developed to support the BT Movio service.