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YouTube, the internet video site bought by Google this year for $1.65bn, has made its long-awaited leap into mobile telecommunications by inking a deal to distribute some of its videos over Verizon Wireless mobile phones.
From next month, subscribers to Verizon’s V Cast service will be able to view pre-selected video clips on their mobile phones. The companies said the deal was exclusive to Verizon and would last “for a limited time.” Other terms were not disclosed.
The deal is YouTube’s first with a big mobile carrier.
Steve Chen, YouTube’s co-founder, hailed the company’s move into mobile, which is seen as an important growth opportunity for online video. Visitors to YouTube’s web site already stream more than 100m videos per day, according to the company.
“This service offers our community and Verizon Wireless subscribers a new opportunity to connect and engage with their favourite videos,” he said. “We will continue to roll out more exciting partnerships and features for the mobile user over the coming year.”
For Verizon, the deal represents a fresh attempt to drive users to its V Cast data service. Like other mobile carriers, Verizon Wireless, a joint venture between Verizon and Vodafone of the UK, has been seeking to boost revenues from data services to offset the continuing decline in revenues from standard voice calls.
Voice calls still represent the bulk of US mobile carriers’ revenues, but data services including ringtone downloads, mobile games and SMS text messaging are growing rapidly. While some data services including mobile video and music downloads have been slow to take off in the US, carriers are banking on personalised service such as YouTube.