News, DirecTV Eye Wireless Data

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News Corp. and DirecTV Inc. are getting ready to enter the wireless high-speed-Internet market, Rupert Murdoch told analysts at a conference Monday.

The News Corp. chairman said the companies have been studying wireless technology and will likely unveil their game plan in the next few months. DirecTV, a direct-broadcast satellite provider, is controlled by News Corp. and would be its vehicle for wireless-Internet service.

“We are looking, from the Direct point of view, at various alternatives -- partnerships, going it alone and, of course, the different technologies,” Murdoch said at Citigroup Inc.’s 16th Annual Global Entertainment, Media and Telecommunications Conference in Phoenix.

“We have a lot of people on this full-time at the moment,” he added. “You’ll be hearing from us, within probably two months, a very clear plan of what will happen. It’s not as expensive as you might think.”

Right now, DirecTV and EchoStar Communications Corp. don’t offer high-speed Internet to households, but WiMax technology could be an avenue for them to provide such service.

DirecTV would only have to invest $1 billion or so to enter the high-speed wireless market, according to Murdoch.

“Direct is extremely liquid: It’s got $4 billion in the bank,” he said. “We’re certainly not talking about spending that kind of money -- maybe an investment of around $1 billion by Direct. But first, we have to be certain of the technology and its ability to be expanded … Whatever system we go for is going to be something that can be upgraded and stay with public demand.”

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