ESPN to start mobile service with Sanyo phone
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Sports television network ESPN
plans to start selling a wireless service for sports fans on a
limited basis this year with a mobile phone from Sanyo Electric
Co Ltd, it said on Tuesday.
Disney’s ESPN sees the mobile service, which will operate
on a high-speed wireless network that Sprint Nextel Corp. is
building, as a way to expand its brand and its sports
programming beyond traditional television screens.
Sprint Nextel leases network space to several wireless
providers including Virgin Mobile USA, its joint venture with
Virgin,in an effort to gain revenue from consumers it has not
signed up for Sprint branded services.
Sprint Nextel, which plans to have a high-speed network
that covers about half of the U.S. population early next year,
will also support a separate Disney branded mobile service.
ESPN said customers could sign up for its Mobile ESPN
service and buy the Sanyo MPV phone on its Web site in time for
the winter holiday season. It plans to follow with a full
national retail launch in February.
Along with traditional phone call services it plans to
deliver sports score alerts, breaking news and commentary as
well as some audio and video clip services to mobile phones. It
did not reveal pricing for the service or the phone.
The Sanyo MPV has a 1.3 megapixel camera, a video and voice
recorder, and an MP3 digital music player, ESPN said.