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Virgin Mobile to ink mobile TV deal with BT

So the trial was a success

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Virgin Mobile looks set to be the first cellco to sign up to a nationwide TV service, according to a report by the Financial Times. The pink paper reports that the tie-up is due to be announced tomorrow at the 3GSM trade show in Barcelona and will provide punters with at least five TV channels and a number of radio stations.

BT Wholesale began trials of its Movio mobile service (formerly known as LiveTime) with Virgin Mobile last year. Four weeks ago, BT announced the trials had been a success saying the results were "extremely positive", and demonstrate there is "clear consumer demand for broadcast digital TV and radio to mobile phones".

At the time, BT Movio head Emma Lloyd said: "It is clear from the very positive feedback we have had from the pilot that BT Movio will be in high demand from mobile users and operators alike. We are in commercial discussions with mobile operators about launching a consumer service after the launch of the wholesale service later this year."

Now it seems that those discussions have resulted in Virgin Mobile - which is still in talks to be acquired by cableco NTL for £920m - becoming the first operator to sign up to the Movio service, which uses the Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB) network to broadcast pictures to handsets.

Separately, BT has announced a content deal with TV production company Endemol - makers of Big Brother - for its digital TV service due to be unveiled later this year. The tie-up builds on the content deals already announced with names such as BBC Worldwide, Paramount and Warner Music Group.

BT's internet TV service will give viewers access to digital-terrestrial channels through the aerial, while programmes and movies can be downloaded "on demand" via a broadband connection. ®

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