Landlines, you're out! T-Mobile to make MLB bullpen calls wireless

This year, the carrier will outfit a number of dugouts with wireless voice systems. And for the fans in the stands, there'll be expanded wireless 4G coverage.

The old-school dugout phones at Fenway Park. Daniel Terdiman/CNET

T-Mobile has finally made the big leagues.

The wireless carrier has has signed a deal with Major League Baseball to beef up certain stadiums with its own brand of wireless technology.

Coming up to bat will be a new wireless "on-field communication system" connecting managers in the dugouts with their coaches in the bullpen. The carrier will replace the old-fashioned wall-mounted phones with new cell phones, giving managers greater flexibility. The dugout-to-bullpen system will start to roll out to select stadiums this year.

As part of the multiyear MLB deal, T-Mobile will also tap into its growing 4G coverage to provide wireless connectivity to the fans in the stands. The company's 4G network now covers around 229 different metro areas, providing access to 220 million potential customers.

Finally, the carrier will team up with Major League Baseball's technology arm, known as MLB Advanced Media (MLBAM), to drum up interest in America's favorite pastime. The two will create special offers and promotions designed to appear on the smartphones and tablets of T-Mobile subscribers.

"Baseball is America's number one digitally consumed sport and today's baseball fan is technologically savvy and data hungry, which makes this partnership a great opportunity for not only baseball enthusiasts, but millions of T-Mobile customers," Mike Sievert, T-Mobile USA's chief marketing officer, said in a statement.

The new deal is just part of the latest effort from T-Mobile to tap into the baseball world.

The carrier is also forming partnerships with Fox, Turner, MLB Network, and ESPN. T-Mobile will sponsor ESPN's Wednesday Night Baseball and work with MLB on local sponsorship of certain teams. The company already is a sponsor of the Pittsburgh Pirates and Seattle Mariners.

 

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