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ESPN taps Sanyo for launch of mobile service

Network set to deliver Mobile ESPN, a service that will deliver sports scores, headlines, and audio and video clips to cell phones.

Sports broadcaster ESPN fleshed out the details of a long-planned mobile phone service on Tuesday, announcing that it will use Sanyo handsets to launch the service by the end of the year.

Mobile ESPN, in the works for nearly a year, will deliver sports scores, audio and video clips, and headlines to subscribers via their cell phones, the network said. Walt Disney's ESPN first unveiled plans for the service last year, announcing it would work with Sprint to develop it.

As the first handset partner for Mobile ESPN, Sanyo said it will produce an "MVP" phone that can deliver video, audio and text at high speeds. The phone will also feature a high-resolution display, a 1.3-megapixel digital camera, a video and voice recorder, and an MP3 music player, the companies said.

The phone and the Mobile ESPN service will be available online in limited quantities by the end of the year, ESPN said. The company is planning for a national retail launch on Feb. 5. It hasn't yet released pricing information.

The phone, which uses new Sprint technology that enables "broadband-like" speeds, will offer Internet browsing and e-mail access, the companies said. ESPN is tapping West Corp., a customer service specialist, to assist with purchasing, phone activation, billing and other customer service matters.

Walt Disney and Sprint are developing another wireless service, called Disney Mobile, aimed at distributing family entertainment via mobile phones. The availability of that service is expected sometime next year.