March 27, 2007 8:35 AM PDT

AT&T touts mobile video, music capabilities

ORLANDO, Fla.--The networks are built, the devices are being sold, and services are now available to make watching TV or listening to music on a cell phone a reality, a top executive from AT&T said on Tuesday during a keynote speech here at the CTIA Wireless trade show.

One sign that consumers are ready for this convergence is all the hype and excitement surrounding the launch of Apple's new music-playing, feature-packed iPhone, set to launch in June exclusively on AT&T's network. In fact, AT&T has already received about 1 million requests for information on the iPhone, the company's chief operating officer, Randall Stephenson, said during his speech.

While AT&T, the biggest U.S. wireless service, is not taking advance orders for the phone, it set up a section on its Web site inviting visitors to leave their e-mail addresses so they can receive information about the phone when it is released.

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One of the largest trade shows in the industry, CTIA Wireless 2007 showcases the latest products, strategies and developments in mobile technology.

"One million people have asked us to call when this phone is available," he said.

AT&T has a strong wireline business, providing voice and high-speed Internet service to millions of consumers. And now, thanks to its $86 billion merger with BellSouth, it also has 100 percent control of the nation's largest wireless operator.

The new AT&T plans to make its mobile asset a key part of a new "three screen" strategy that will allow people to access, TV, music, e-mail and any other data they want on any device they want, whether it's a PC, TV or wireless device. And the iPhone is just one piece of that strategy.

The company is also working on other innovative devices and services, including a video phone service that allows people to transmit live video to someone miles away.

AT&T announced the real-time video-sharing service at the Consumer Electronics Show in January, and Stephenson said the company will launch the service in 50 markets this summer. Pricing information and specific locations for the launch have not yet been announced.

AT&T also announced a deal with Napster on Monday that, starting April 1, will allow subscribers to get unlimited access for one year to more than 3 million songs through the Napster music service. Customers will be able to transfer songs to compatible wireless phones and music devices.

In addition to bringing music to cell phones, AT&T plans to bring its TV and broadband Internet services onto the tiny screen as well. AT&T will be highlighting this new strategy as it broadcasts the Masters Golf Tournament in Augusta, Ga., on all three screens for the first time. From April 2-8, the company will offer video previews, highlights and other coverage of the Masters Tournament through its IPTV U-Verse and Homezone services, as well as through its Internet portals and on mobile phones.

Stephenson said AT&T also provides free banking software that will allow subscribers to pay bills and transfer funds via their cell phones. The service will be available to customers of BancorpSouth, Wachovia, SunTrust Banks, and Regions Financial.

"Will consumers want to watch TV on their cell phones?" he said. "Quite honestly, I don't know. But history has shown us time after time that we have underestimated demand for new technologies. So I'm sure we are probably underestimating how much wireless broadband will be utilized."

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6 comments

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The iphone
The iphone isn't really a new innovative thing, but rather a merging of already existing technologies. What makes it unique is the fact that it's from apple and pretty much anything from apple sells well now a days.
Posted by thedreaming (573 comments )
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iYawn
iPhone 1.0 is like Zune 1.0, a flawed/limited product that is not worth buying.

Of course, many people will buy it anyway, simply because it has an Apple logo on it...
Posted by john55440 (1020 comments )
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Not so fast, Mr. Stephenson
I think the iPhone is a good product and I wouldn't mind having one. But 1 million inquiries do not necessary translate into 1 million phones so hold your horses Mr Stephenson! After the 1 million curious people find out your neat little phone costs at least $600 and the service is more than $110 per month your 1M figure might look a bit different!
Posted by HaveSomeTea (165 comments )
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En~That would be more interesting if we could watch TV on mobile phone
So far as I know, I don't know whether it is true or not, some companies already provide video downloading from TV channle to mobiles.
Maybe they're not quite synchronism, but I think it's a great step.
Posted by geralddrury (1 comment )
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Doesn't mean a thing
AT&T is just adding to the hype by this announcement. The price (phone and plan) + lack of keyboard will be major deterrents except for rich mac fanboys.
Posted by sbee (28 comments )
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news
Think about it, it's from apple it's considered a major release, because apple is going to promote the **** out of it. Also, look at what happened with the ipod, when that entered an undeveloped market, apple had huge success. This is why the ATV is getting so much coverage, because the prediction is that this thing is going to be huge. I have found that, even with this great Apple TV we still need a video converter (things like Apple TV Converter) in case to put our favourite movies onto Apple TV before playing them on TV Screen.

Best apple tv converter
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.apple-tv-converter.net" target="_newWindow">http://www.apple-tv-converter.net</a>
Posted by johnreptues (1 comment )
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