A deal between US telecom giant Sprint Nextel and four leading cable firms will enable subscribers to use cellphones to watch live TV, program DVRs and check home email and voice mail.

The twenty-year joint venture with Comcast, Time Warner, Cox and Advance/Newhouse involves an initial £200 million (€165m; £112m) investment - half from Sprint.

The cross-promotion of 'quadruple' play services is "the next frontier for our industry", proclaims Comcast ceo Brian Roberts. He says the group of cable companies began talking a year ago about bringing new products and bundles to market more rapidly. They approached several wireless firms, but only Sprint offered a positive response.

The deal envisions a launch by mid-2006 of cellphones with advanced capabilities. The products will be co-branded by Sprint and the cable company serving the market where the customer lives.

These 'third screens' come as communications and media companies race to offer services through mobile devices that are also available via TV and computers.

Data sourced from Financial Times Online; additional content by WARC staff