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Collaboration is key to success for Mobile TV
New UMTS Forum/GMSA white paper presents positive economic outlook for Mobile TV

Timely creation of a regulatory environment in which investments in an ecosystem, infrastructure and partnerships will be key to success for Mobile TV network operators, argues a new White Paper published by the Mobile TV Joint Work Group of the UMTS Forum and the GSM Association.

Titled 'Sustainable Economics of Mobile TV Services', the white paper states that Mobile TV promises attractive returns for mobile operators who actively embrace relationships with content providers and other actors, Moreover, suggests the paper, success will be determined by compelling content plus unique features that are clearly differentiated from other video delivery platforms and strategies.

Part of an ongoing collaboration between the UMTS Forum and the GSM Association, the white paper explores the viability of Mobile TV by modelling hypothetical business scenarios in a typical European country. The analysis considers the contribution and relationships between content providers, Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) and broadcast infrastructure operators.

A key conclusion is that rapid payback for providers of Mobile TV services depends on effective collaboration between market actors.

Driven by global growth in UMTS/HSPA networks and subscriptions, increasing levels of live video traffic are already being delivered as Unicast services (operator to single user) over cellular networks.

This exponential trend offers exciting opportunities for the mobile industry, content providers and advertisers. But as traffic levels rise, many operators are exploring 'one to many' broadcasting technologies to circumvent capacity constraints on their own cellular infrastructures. Typically these solutions add a separate broadcast overlay network to carry 'live' TV services.

Several alternative technologies to deliver mobile TV services are already in deployment or undergoing trials. The financial model explored in the white paper conservatively assumes that most operators will only deploy broadcast overlay networks reaching 65% of the population. However the white paper warns that the success of mobile TV will be governed by the end user experience and not the delivery mechanism.

Alongside wide population coverage and good in-building reception, the white paper points to affordable, transparent pricing schemes, excellent picture quality, a simple user experience and interactivity as key drivers for the perceived value of Mobile TV services.

"Practically all 3G networks globally already give subscribers the ability to enjoy video entertainment on mobile devices", notes UMTS Forum Chairman Jean-Pierre Bienaimé. "Moreover, we’re already seeing viewing time increased with interactive offerings that invite viewers’ voting and participation."

"The key to success with Mobile TV is a collaborative ecosystem that balances mutual risks with shared rewards. This white paper presents a checklist for operators, broadcasters and other market players to help them negotiate mutually profitable commercial arrangements."

The White Paper 'Sustainable Economics of Mobile TV Services' is available as a free download on the website here.