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Sprint to Offer Real's Service

August 11, 2003|Jon Healey

Sprint Corp.'s wireless phone subsidiary plans to start offering a version of RealNetworks Inc.'s audio and video subscription service for cell phones today, extending its service into a burgeoning market.

Once primarily a technology supplier, Seattle-based Real has become increasingly reliant on revenue from its RealOne subscription service, which offers news, sports and entertainment through the Internet for $9.95 a month. The service has attracted 1 million subscribers who watch or listen to the offerings on their personal computers.

The cell phone version, which Sprint PCS plans to offer for $4.95 a month, substitutes slide shows for the video clips usually provided by several of Real's partners, including Walt Disney Co.'s ABCNews.com and News Corp.'s FoxSports.com. As more advanced cell phones become available, the companies expect to offer full-fledged video streams as well.

Sprint PCS, based in Overland Park, Kan., plans to make the service available to customers using its third- generation network, which typically transmits data from the Internet about as fast as a dial-up modem on a computer.

Sprint PCS shares Friday rose 15 cents to $5.30 on the New York Stock Exchange, and Real rose 21 cents, also to $5.30, on Nasdaq.

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-- Jon Healey

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