German operators start TV-to-mobile phones experiment
Germany's four mobile phone operators yesterday began trials of broadcasting television pictures, including coverage of World Cup football matches, on handsets. Clients of T-Mobile, Vodafone, O2 and E-Plus with specially equipped phones will be able to receive television programmes and 16 radio stations until August 31. The pilot project is only being operated in the cities of Berlin, Hamburg, Munich and Hanover.

The television content will include programmes from the two public channels, ARD and ZDF, which will show World Cup games, plus shows from privately owned channels and some specially made programmes. The four operators want to create a consortium to share the costs of the digital broadcasting project "which could run into several hundred million euros", said Raphael Kuebler, the financial director of T-Mobile.

Phones capable of receiving television pictures are set to go on sale next year. The monthly fee is expected to be between five and 15 euros (US$6 and US$19) depending on the number of channels selected. The 64-match World Cup kicks off on June 9 with the final on July 9.