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Virgin Mobile confirms mobile TV deal

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Virgin Mobile has confirmed it is to unveil a mobile TV service later this year following a tie-up with BT Wholesale. The tie-up comes as little surpise as both firms had already been working together in trials of BT Movio, which piggybacks the Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB) network, to broadcast pictures to handsets. The story was leaked over the weekend.

As part of the offering five TV channels will be made available to punters and BT is currently talking to content providers to nail down what they can tune in to. As well as TV, some 350 digital radio stations will also be available via handsets.

As part of the deal, Virgin Mobile will be the sole user of the Movio service in the UK for a limited period. BT wouldn't say how long that exclusive period would last, but a spokeswoman said the telco was in "active discussions with other operators".

Confirmation of the deal coincided with the launch of The Trilogy "tellyphone" - a DAB-IP Smartphone that features a 2.2in screen and a range of other features including removable storage and an integrated 1.3 megapixel camera.

Virgin Mobile director of sales and marketing Graeme Hutchinson said: "Virgin Mobile customers will be the first people in Europe to watch real broadcast TV over their mobile phones. It's not downloaded, it's not looped, it's real TV just like you get at home, and it's real DAB digital radio - crystal clear sound."

Pricing for the service has yet to be announced, although it's understood punters will have to be prepared to fork out around £8 a month to watch telly and listen to radio using their mobile phone. ®

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