Verizon launches mobile phone TV programs in U.S.

America’s second-largest cell phone provider Verizon Wireless on Thursday announced it has launched the country’s first commercial mobile television service. With the launch of this eagerly awaited service U.S. cell phone users in 20 states can now view full-length television programs with picture quality similar to regular TV for 15 U.S. dollars a month. The venture of Verizon Communications Inc. and Vodafone Group Plc will utilize a service developed by Qualcomm Inc. unit MediaFlo and includes eight channels broadcasting full-length TV shows to phones 24 hours a day. The picture quality of the new service will be about twice as clear as Verizon Wireless’s existing Vcast video service and on par with home TV. The first phone to support MediaFlo, the U620 from Samsung Electronics Co., is being sold for 199 dollars or 149.99 dollars for customers who sign a two-year contract. Verizon plans to add an LG Electronics Inc. phone in weeks.

The MediaFlo service became available on Thursday in cities such as Chicago; New Orleans; Portland, Oregon; Seattle; Las Vegas; Tucson, Arizona; Kansas City; Dallas-Forth Worth; and Salt Lake City.