Some cell phones to get live NCAA tournament games

March 18, 2009

(AP) -- March Madness is in the air. To be more specific, it's on airwaves that certain AT&T and Verizon Wireless phones can pick up, letting them show live NCAA basketball tournament games this season.

It's the first time the will be available through AT&T, which launched live mobile TV service last May though Qualcomm Inc.'s MediaFLO service.

AT&T subscribers with certain phones will be able to view all 63 NCAA live, the company said Wednesday. Customers at Verizon Wireless, which had some games available last year, will be able to see 27. AT&T is a sponsor of the tournament, which accounts for the difference.

Both companies charge $15 per month for mobile TV, but AT&T is offering a two-month free trial of the service.

Only a handful of phones have the special receivers needed for the broadcasts. Examples are the LG Vu and Samsung Eternity sold by AT&T and the LG Voyager sold by Verizon Wireless.

AT&T's flagship phone, the iPhone from Apple Inc., doesn't have a MediaFLO receiver, but there's another way to watch live games on that phone. MobiTV Inc. has made an application available for the iPhone and iPod Touch that shows live games throughout the college basketball season for $4.99. However, it works only in Wi-Fi hot spots, not over the iPhone's cellular data connection. Game clips and audio will be available over cellular.

Many Sprint Nextel Corp. phones have access to MobiTV, but their owners are out of luck: The live NCAA streams are only for iPhones and iPods.

©2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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