TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: AT&T, Verizon Launch DVR Programming by Cell Phone

AT&T, Verizon Launch DVR Programming by Cell Phone

Reuters News Wire (
Tue, 06 Mar 2007 20:18:19 -0600

The top two U.S. wireless providers are starting to let customers use
their mobile phones to remotely record television shows, hoping the
new service will help them better compete against rivals.

AT&T Inc. said on Tuesday subscribers can now use their cell phones to
record TV shows on home TVs via Homezone, a video-on-demand service
that AT&T offers with satellite TV provider EchoStar Communications.

Starting next week, No. 2 mobile provider Verizon Wireless, owned by
Verizon Communications and Vodafone Group Plc, also plans to let its
customers use their phones to program TiVo Inc. digital video
recorders remotely.

The idea, which wireless operators have been promising for months, is
to better integrate wired and wireless services to encourage customer
loyalty amid increased competition from cable providers, which have
added telephony to their Web and television services.

Sprint Nextel Corp., the No. 3 wireless service, is also planning a
similar offer later in the year through its venture with cable
providers such as Comcast Corp. and Time Warner Cable Inc..

Analysts said such services may help attract or retain customers, but
several said that only a small number of wireless subscribers are
looking to remotely program DVRs.

Less than 10 percent of respondents to a recent survey said they
wanted such a feature, according to Jupiter Research analyst Ina
Sebastian whose firm organized the survey.

Consumers can already remotely program digital video recorders from
companies such as TiVo by using a desktop computer with an Internet
connection, at no extra charge.

They can also set their recorders to capture favorite shows months in
advance, said analyst Roger Entner from Ovum, who questioned the
addressable market for AT&T.

"It makes scatterbrain Homezone customers a little bit more happy," he

Verizon Wireless will charge $1.99 a month for its service, which will
work on more than 12 phone models, covering the vast majority of its
customers, spokesman Jeffrey Nelson said.

AT&T said its service would be available free to cell phone users who
subscribe to its Homezone service, which costs $9.99 a month along
with a subscription to EchoStar's satellite TV service and AT&T's
broadband Internet service.

AT&T did not say how many customers have signed up for Homezone. It
has yet to offer Homezone in the market regions of BellSouth, which it
recently bought.

Copyright 2007 Reuters Limited.

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