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Harmonised regulatory environment will ensure success of mobile TV, says GSMA / UMTS Forum Joint Working Group PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 01 December 2006
A new white paper published by the Joint Mobile TV working group of the GSM Association and the UMTS Forum charts the key enablers for the mass-market success of mobile TV services in Europe and worldwide.

Titled Mobile TV: The Groundbreaking Dimension, the paper stresses the importance of a flexible, harmonised regulatory environment where mobile TV can flourish through economies of scale and favourable end-user prices.

The paper also emphasizes the importance of collaboration between broadcasters and mobile operators to create a new market space for television services that will complement existing multichannel pay TV and free-to-air offerings. In particular, mobile infrastructures offer a return path for broadcasters that will provide a fertile environment for the creation of exciting interactive services.

Envisaging a new generation of high-value services, the paper calls for the creation of standards that will help mobile TV maintain its strong commercial appeal as conventional television viewers migrate to High Definition transmissions over the next few years.

As with many new technologies, several different standards for mobile TV have already been proposed, trialed or introduced in markets around the world. In the white paper, the Joint Mobile TV Group provides an objective analysis of these different technologies from the viewpoint of spectral efficiency, investment, regulation and service delivery requirements. It is anticipated that mobile TV business models defined by this new value chain will be analysed in more detail through future studies by the Group.

Available as a free download, Mobile TV: The Groundbreaking Dimension was launched at a workshop held this week by the Joint Mobile TV Group in Brussels.

"Voice, music, games and other forms of entertainment have already migrated to mobile devices, and now television is finding a new audience on the world's most popular consumer electronics device", stated UMTS Forum Chairman Jean-Pierre Bienaim in his address to an audience of regulators, operators, manufacturers, content providers and EU officials at the workshop.

"There are many technological options on the table for the broadcast delivery of multimedia content to handheld devices, noted Bienaim. "While it's clear that no single technical standard will dominate the global market for mobile TV services, the cellular industry as a whole is becoming part of a far larger digital communications industry. In this new ecosystem, many of the same opportunities and challenges are now shared with broadcasters, content providers, platform providers, Internet companies and device manufacturers."

"To ensure the market success of mobile TV services in this new environment, it's vital that this nascent industry is supported by a stable regulatory environment where innovation is encouraged", stated Bosco Fernandes, Chairman of the Joint Mobile TV Group. "Traditional TV is one of the most highly regulated media in many countries. It's therefore essential that industry investment in its mobile counterpart should not be discouraged by the complexities and overlaps that beset current regulatory regimes.

"In certain EU Member States the overlap between the broadcasting and media laws is unresolved", added Fernandes, urging the timely development of a common harmonised EU solution. "Future European Directives should avoid the unintended effects of legislation that could hinder the commercialisation of new, high value services for the benefit of end users, operators and broadcasters alike."

The workshop audience was welcomed by EC Cabinet Member Christophe Forax, who confirmed the publication of a communication on mobile TV by the Commission during Spring 2007:

"Mobile TV provides exciting new opportunities to create significant value right across the value chain. The identification of supplementary spectrum on a mid-term basis, as well as the creative adaptation of broadcast content for handheld devices, user friendly technological solutions and a 'light touch' regulatory approach will be keys for the success of mobile TV in Europe."

The workshop coincided with the 10th anniversary of the founding of the UMTS Forum in 1996 at the instigation of the European Commission.

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