Niche wireless provider ROK Mobile preps Netflix-like mobile video service

The small wireless reseller plans to launch the service in the first quarter, but didn't provide pricing details.

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Roger Cheng
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ROK Mobile rose up on its music bundle, but it plans to offer a video feature too. Screen shot by Scott Webster/CNET

LAS VEGAS -- Little-known wireless provider ROK Mobile is trying to make some big waves with video.

The company, which buys and resells wireless service from the larger national carriers in the US and UK, said on Thursday that it plans to launch an unlimited mobile video service in the first quarter. The company would use SeaChange, which already provides video-on-demand back-end services to cable providers such as Comcast, to offer a curated selection of movies and television shows.

ROK Mobile and SeaChange were mum on the price of the service, as well as any specific titles available for launch. ROK currently offers unlimited talk and text, and 5 gigabytes of high-speed data bundled with a music service, for $50 per month.

ROK is one of several niche resellers attempting to experiment with the traditional business model of wireless service, an area that has drawn players that range in size from little-known companies to major players such as Google. It's also the latest to push online video as a potential key feature, following Verizon Wireless's announcement of its Go90 mobile video service.

A video service is seen as a way to offer ROK's customer base -- typically younger users -- an affordable way to access movies and TV shows. The company touts "thousands of Hollywood and international blockbuster moves and television series, including cult TV and movies, animation for young adults, extreme sports and short videos."

"This is a complete game-changer for both the telecom and entertainment industries," said Jonathan Kendrick, chairman of ROK Mobile, in a statement.

Beyond its Android phones, ROK Mobile will make the content available on Web browsers, tablets and Chromecast devices.

ROK Mobile plans to formally announce the service at the CTIA Wireless industry trade show here in Las Vegas.

"This is revolutionary," SeaChange CEO Jay Samit said in an interview. "ROK Mobile has great ambitions."