Rugby World Cup on your mobile

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O2 has joined Vodafone and Orange in launching video content available via GPRS. Free until January 31st the highlight of the new service is that it will enable customers to download or stream clips from this month’s Rugby World Cup.

Other content includes news, comedy, music, fashion and sport from partners like ITN, CNBC Europe, Classic Comedy, Bake, Fashion TV, GMTV and the Extreme Sports Channel.

The Rugby content features half and full-time highlights from Australia, special interviews with coaches and players and a choice of nearly 100 classic RWC 2003 moments such as ‘top tries’. The clips vary in length – averaging 10 seconds for a ‘top try’ to 45 seconds for highlights and interviews.

The service went live last night – so read on for our verdict…

Firstly not all handset owners can access the clips. At present users need a Nokia 3650 or a Sony Ericsson P800. From November, this will increase to include the new Xda II, Nokia 6600, Siemens SX1, Motorola V600 and Sony Ericsson P900.

We found a stray Nokia 3650 went to O2 active and downloaded and streamed a rugby clip.

In all honesty it is pretty much what you’d expect. The quality of the images is just about watchable, but prone to blocking, and in the case of streaming, crashing/buffering. 02 has been quite clever in choosing Rugby as, unlike football, the ball doesn’t tend to move too quickly over long distances. Nevertheless the classic try we saw ended up with a pool of players merging into a multi-coloured blur.

Fair play to 02 for launching the service, but if it expects anyone to pay for this stuff it really is deluding itself.

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