James Middleton

September 16, 2008

1 Min Read
3 Italia steps up mobile TV offering

Italian mobile operator 3 Italia said this week it has tapped kit vendor Thomson to deliver a mobile video headend for its mobile TV service, La3 TV.

The operator has also built a new operations centre to boost its DVB-H-based media service, increasing its capabilities to broadcast up to 20 channels.

3 Italia claims to operate “Europe’s largest DVB-H service,” with over 850,000 subscribers in Italy, but mobile TV has largely struggled to live up to the hype.

Despite some optimistic field trial results, the pay business model for mobile TV always looked challenging and consumer take up has been relatively low. Dermot Nolan, director of the TBS consultancy, recently noted the problem is that while mobile telephone customers pay for voice, SMS, ringtones and mobile broadband dongles, everything else is perceived to be “free”: cameras, wifi, FM radio, games and MP3 players (with the notable exception of Apple).

Saying that, 3 Italia recently launched a free mobile TV offer, which seeks to emulate the Japanese and Korean terrestrial business models – some of the few markets where mobile TV has taken off – and which may lead to a marked increase in service.

In related news players from the mobile TV ecosystem – Alcatel-Lucent, Audemat, Axcera, DiBcom, RVR Elettronica, Sagem Mobiles, Sidsa, TeamCast and UDcast – have joined forces to develop DVB-SH mobile TV for the UHF band.

DVB-SH (Digital Video Broadcast – Satellite services to Handhelds) is an evolution of DVB-H and can be used in any frequency spectrum below 3GHz, including UHF, L-Band and S-Band, terrestrial only, satellite only or also in hybrid networks. The S-Band frequency spectrum is currently available throughout Europe.

About the Author(s)

James Middleton

James Middleton is managing editor of telecoms.com | Follow him @telecomsjames

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