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Tuesday, September 16, 2008, 08:50 am PT (11:50 am ET)

AT&T to tie iPhones into own Internet television, phone service

AT&T said this week that it plans to eventually integrate the iPhone into its U-verse suite of Internet television and VoIP services, while also adding new features that will allow the handset act as a remote control.

The exclusive US iPhone carrier made the announcement at a conference Monday covering future technologies that will more closely tie mobile handsets with computers and television sets.

"We're looking at the whole landscape, of what people use, and what's out there in the home," said AT&T Chief Technology Officer John Donovan, who added that some of the services may launch later this year.

Instead of offering iPhone users direct access to U-verse, which provides IP-based television and phone services, it appears as if the telecoms company will leverage the Apple handset to drive home-based installations of the service.

U-verse currently requires a set-top-box and ranges in cost from $69 to $124 per month based on the number of television channels customers want to receive. Its supporting network was designed for download speeds of 20-25 megabits (1 to 3 megabits upload), with the majority of the bandwidth devoted to the TV programming.

AT&T said customers will eventually be able to listen to their voice mails on their television, and download shows from their digital video recorders onto their iPhones. A new application for the iPhone will reportedly serve as a television remote that will also allow users to virtually hurl "tomatoes at the TV screen."