With much fanfare, Verizon Wireless yesterday launched their new Mobile TV service. Verizon Wireless claims that the service offers live TV with none of the annoying buffering that Web video users know all too well. According to the company's website, they currently have content available from eight popular stations, including MTV, Comedy Central, ESPN, and Fox. To take advantage of Mobile TV, users must have a Samsung SCH-U620 handset (though an LG VX9400 is expected to be made available soon) and subscribe to one of the Verizon VCAST Mobile TV packages.
The most expensive package, the ?V-CAST V PACK? plan is $25.00 per month and includes unlimited video clips, monthly access to mobile Web 2.0, unlimited airtime, and unlimited e-mail. The smaller ?Basic? package includes TV with a 8 channels for $15.00 per month and a ?Limited? package with only 4 channels is available for $13 per month. The service does not use monthly voice airtime minutes nor does it accrue data charges. Considering the limited amount of content and the small number of markets where service is currently available (20 markets currently, mostly in the Midwest and West), we suggest that consumers give the new service a few months (at least) to iron out any glitches before jumping in and getting a phone and plan with the new service. Once the service offerings increase, however, Mobile TV could prove to be a cheaper alternative to cable or satellite TV for many users, especially if they are frequently on the go and spend most of their free time at home online as opposed to watching TV.
Source: Telecommunications Research and Action Center. http://www.trac.org