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3GSM: Mobile TV to steal the show

The mobile industry’s frenzied efforts to reinvent itself as a mobile entertainment business continue apace, with mobile TV making a larger than life appearance at 3GSM World Congress, which kicks off in Barcelona on Monday.

Despite the fact that the vast majority of revenue growth – both for the operator and vendor communities – is coming out of developing market, mobile TV is one of the biggest hopes around.

“At times it’s going to feel more like a TV exhibition than a mobile exhibition,” said Mark Newman, Informa Telecoms & Media’s chief research officer.

This year the Sundance Film Festival makes its appearance at 3GSM – Sundance has commissioned six independent film makers to produce made-for-mobile films.

As the mobile phone morphs into a device that can capture both TV and internet content, huge interest is being generated in the user generated content and social networking space.

“User-generated content plays on customer’s vanity and ensures they receive their 15 seconds of fame by transforming them into mini Tom Cruises and/or Steven Spielbergs,” said Nick Lane, principal analyst at Informa.

3 UK’s recent transition to the open internet model is one good example. “3 can now sit back and reap the benefit of its transition toward the internet model with X-Series safe in the knowledge that its content requirement is being met by its customers,” said Lane.

Mobile TV was the hottest topic in Barcelona last year, but this year visitors will be expecting to see fully operational trials and compelling content, Lane added.

In 2006 DVB-H emerged as the clear frontrunner for the delivery of mobile TV. But implementation has been slower and a clutch of other systems have caught up. These include the French-backed satellite platform DVB-SSP, Multimedia Broadcast-Multicast Subsystem with either HSDPA or UMTS-TDD air interfaces, and MediaFlo.

Currently only a UK phenomenon, BT’s DAB-IP mobile TV solution is also expected to feature at this year’s event.

“Mobile TV services over 3G networks have rolled out in a number of European countries over the last year,” said Lane. “But none of them have really taken the market by storm.

“There are still big questions that need to be answered about the viability of different technology platforms and – more importantly – the business models for mobile TV. People are going to want to see compelling content that consumers will be willing to pay for,” Lane said.


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