UK satellite broadcast monopoly BSkyB has linked with telecoms giant Vodafone to offer television programming via mobile handsets.

The service - Sky Mobile TV - will be accessible to 250,000 British subscribers to Vodafone's latest 3G cellphones.

Sky, controlled by Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation, will offer a total of nineteen channels. One package will consist of mainly factual and news programs such as the History Channel, while the other will offer cartoons and entertainment such as MTV. Access is free until January 31, thereafter £5 ($8; €7) per month for each package.

The deal is symptomatic of global expansion in cellphone content and Sky expects the move to be profitable. It currently has more than eight million subscribers to its UK pay-TV service.

Says chief operating officer Richard Freudenstein: "This is an innovative service that complements our existing pay-TV activities, extends the reach of Sky content and delivers an additional stream of revenue."

Vodafone hopes the deal will attract new subscribers to its 3G network. Spokesman Ben Taylor's fingers are crossed: "We expect Sky Mobile TV to be the big hot-seller over Christmas."

Data sourced from The Times Online (UK); additional content by WARC staff