Verizon Wireless is getting all set to launch a new mobile television service based on Qualcomm’s MediaFLO network. The service is going to launch in select markets on March 1.
RCR Wireless first reported the news of the planned launch date, and we have some exclusive details on the new offering that we learned from a source close to the situation.
Our source told us that the service will be rolled out in select markets like Dallas, Denver, Las Vegas, Spokane, and Albuquerque.
The reason Verizon’s MediaFLO-based mobile TV service will not be available initially in some of the larger markets is because the service can’t interfere with the signals of broadcasters already using that band. Verizon Wireless and Qualcomm have to test the service in each market and the FCC has to give clearance to make sure everything is kosher before it goes live. We’re not sure how long it will take for the network to be ready nationwide. We asked the companies and the FCC for more clarification on this and we will add more when we learn it.
Our source says that at the time of the beta launch, there will be the initial handset from Samsung, (the LG handset won’t be available at launch) and it will offer eight channels – CBS, NBC, NBC News, Fox, MTV, Nickelodeon, Comedy Central and ESPN. The content will be offered in a combination of real time (at the same time that it is on TV) and “time shifted,” appearing a day after the content shows on broadcast TV.
The service will be priced in two main packages: A VCast Mobile TV Select offering for $25 per month, which includes all of the mobile TV channels plus VCAST videos; or just the mobile TV for $15 per month.
Hopefully the content offering will be beefed up, otherwise $15 a month looks pretty steep for the initial offering.