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WWF, Qualcomm wrestling fans to wireless

Cell phone-toting fans will eventually have access to wireless games, trivia contests and even ring tones that sound like the entrance music for wrestling champion "The Rock."

The World Wrestling Federation and Qualcomm want to take wireless to the bleeding edge.

Cell phone-toting WWF fans will eventually have access to wireless games, trivia contests and even ring tones that sound like the entrance music for wrestling champion "The Rock."

San Diego chipmaker Qualcomm will wrestle with the technological end of these wireless services, which are planned to be sold on a subscription basis, WWF spokesman Jayson Bernstein said Wednesday.

The wireless move is a first for the WWF. It follows another milestone two months ago, when the entertainment company started making its pay-per-view events available on the Internet.

Wrestling fan Angela Moubray said she would buy what the WWF is selling. "I pay $30 a month to see a WWF pay-per-view, so why shouldn't I pay more to have more WWF stuff?" she said.

Wireless carriers are looking for new ways to make money and are pinning some of their hopes on companies like the WWF offering services that might attract cell phone customers. Subscription models for premium content are among the many different efforts, including a premium service for games offered by AT&T Wireless.

Companies like Qualcomm, which are creating software for the next-generation phones capable of downloading videos, stand to benefit as well by cutting revenue-sharing deals with game developers, carriers and device makers.

The WWF won't step into the wireless ring until at least spring of 2002, however.

The WWF services will be written to run on the cell phone operating system called BREW, or binary runtime environment for Windows. Verizon Wireless plans to launch the nation's first BREW service in the spring of next year.

Verizon would have to decide if it wanted to offer the WWF items to its subscribers, Bernstein said. A Verizon representative couldn't be immediately reached for comment.

Qualcomm will likely do most of the development, or choose from a collection of BREW developers it is working with, Qualcomm spokesman Jeremy James said. Qualcomm has a similar relationship with PrimeMedia, which publishes Seventeen magazine.