Mobile TV

Thomas Husson asks if it is hype or reality:

Let’s go step by step:

– mobile TV is a nascent market, built by mobile operators to sell 3G
– adoption rate is so far extremly dependant on the 3G installed base
– the current time spent watching TV (2 minutes / session) is nothing but a show-off service. Look I have live TV on my mobile!
– Japan and Korea are not that advanced market as far as mobile TV is concerned. Yes, S-DMB is available since June 2005 but it has only reached 300,000 subscribers in 6 months. Yes, T-DMB is available since December 2005, but it is offered for free and consequently mobile operators are not really backing the project due to the lack of a sustainable business model.
– when it will reach critical mass, 3G will not be the ideal solution if many customers want to watch the same live content simultaneously.
– mobile operators have invested billions in 3G. Do you think they will so easily say to their shareholders: let’s build a new network from scratch? My take is that MBMS is the natural next step since it allows carriers to use their existing infrastructure and that the spectrum is available.

I am not saying they should use this technology. I am only saying they should try it, because we are at a trial stage. Ericsson and IP Wireless (on the TDD spectrum) are pushing it. Alcatel is now promoting a satellite-base mobile TV solution as well.

There is no rush to decide which technology to use. Anyway, it is just another standard war. As always, technology is not really the issue. The real question is about the business model. Which technology is likely to generate volumes and consequently economies of scale on a worldwide basis?

Published by

Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.