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Canadians to get live TV on cell phones

Rogers will become the first Canadian telecom company to offer live television over mobile phones.
/ Source: Reuters

Rogers Communications Inc. will become the first Canadian telecom company to offer live television over mobile phones, the country's No. 1 wireless firm said Thursday.

Rogers, which is also the country's largest cable-TV provider, expects to launch the service in the current quarter with at least eight channels.

The company said the service will be available during a promotional period for a C$9 ($7.25) monthly fee plus additional data transport costs of between C$10 and C$15. The overall cost will depend on the wireless data package that the customer chooses.

"It will be available right through the network, coast-to-coast, right from day one," Rogers Wireless chief executive Nadir Mohamed told reporters in Toronto.

Company officials said the service will include exclusive content from the Rogers-owned Toronto Blue Jays Major League Baseball team, and other sports, news, and entertainment programming.

Rogers said it is in talks with stations including MSNBC, CP24, NBC On-Line, Discovery, TLC, The Weather Channel and Meteo Media.

The service will be supported by technology from closely held MobiTV and available on certain models of Nokia, Motorola and Sony Ericsson phones.

Rogers became the country's largest wireless company last year with its C$1.4 billion acquisition of Montreal-based Microcell, owner of the Fido cellphone brand. Rogers had about 5.5 million subscribers at the end of 2004.