NEW YORK (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 live games will be available through AT&T, which launched live mobile TV service last May though Qualcomm’s MediaFLO service.
AT&T subscribers with certain phones will be able to view all 63 NCAA tournament games 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, doesn’t have a MediaFLO receiver, but there’s another way to watch live games on that phone. MobiTV 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 phones have access to MobiTV, but their owners are out of luck: The live NCAA streams are only for iPhones and iPods.