Jan 082010
PHS Japan 1997-2003 (Willcom, NTT DoCoMo, ASTEL)
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America is finally poised to get mobile television

YOUR correspondent is always miffed when he sees others taking for granted things he has waited years for. Case in point: the way the Japanese think it is perfectly normal to watch live national and local television free on their mobile phones. In fact, they can do so on practically anything they care to carry around with them—from portable game consoles and electronic dictionaries to satnavs for their cars. And it is not just in Japan that you can watch live television on the hoof. It is also taken for granted in South Korea, China, Brazil and parts of Europe.

Sure, you can do it—sort of—on mobile phones in America. But it certainly is not free; nor is it widespread or capable of providing local news. Verizon, America’s largest mobile operator, offers ten channels of news, sports, prime-time shows and cartoons for an additional $15 a month. AT&T, the number two mobile-phone company, offers a larger package for somewhat less. Both carriers use a technology from Qualcomm called MediaFLO that can deliver more than 20 channels of television to mobile phones.

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