Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Alltel to offer podcasts on cellphones

Reuters.com reports that Alltel (AT.N) "will provide a service to download audio clips from the Internet to cellphones in a bid to expand its business beyond voice services. Alltel, the leading U.S. rural wireless provider, said it will charge $3.99 a month to let subscribers download or stream Web-based clips, also known as podcasts, to their cellphones."

According to the article, Melodeo "is providing Alltel with the technology to offer the clips, which could include everything from sports, entertainment or news clips from media companies to clips from independent podcast creators."

JupiterResearch analyst Julie Ask remarked that "listening to podcasts via desktop computers or iPods has become popular, particularly among young people, but it is not clear how quickly the trend will spread to cellphones." She said,
"There's no doubt that there's interest in podcasts. The only open question is to what extent I'm going to do this on the fly or plan and take it with me."

According to Ask, "about 20 percent of 18 to 24 year-olds have listened to or downloaded a podcast."