UK satellite broadcaster BSkyB and Vodafone are launching a mobile television service in the UK.

The service will be available from the beginning of November and will be free to all Vodafone live! 3G phone customers until the end of January 2006.

Users will have access to live breaking news and sports reports from Sky News and Sky Sports News. Some channels will be broadcast ‘as live’ and others will be custom ‘made for mobile’ channels, featuring regularly updated blocks of programming.

There will be a special Sky Sports Mobile channel providing ball-by-ball coverage of all matches from the England cricket tour to Pakistan.

After the initial free trial period, customers will be charged £5.00 per month for each of two available channel packs, one focussing on news and sport, the other on music and entertainment. There will be nineteen channels in total at launch, with more to be added.

Vodafone currently has 250,000 3G subscribers in the UK, with service coverage reaching over 70% of the country by population. “Mobile TV will be a mainstream service,” said Tim Yates of Vodafone. The company has already launched mobile TV services in a number of other European countries.

“With Sky Mobile TV, you can now keep up with the latest news, sport and entertainment wherever you are,” said Richard Freudenstein, chief operating officer of BSkyB. “This is an innovative service that complements our existing pay-TV activities, extends the reach of Sky content and delivers an additional stream of revenue.”