Mobile TV to ride on mobile broadband popularity

Mobile TV to ride on mobile broadband popularity

Summary: update In countries where mobile broadband is taking off, mobile TV will enjoy an upward trend as well, predict major network vendors.

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update BARCELONA--The success of mobile TV over broadband will be a "natural result" of widespread mobile broadband adoption this year, say network vendors.

Ericsson CEO and president, Carl-Henric Svanberg, told journalists during a briefing at Mobile World Congress 2008 there was a strong uptake of HSPA networks last year, with this momentum expected to continue in 2008. Countries that are already operating these networks commercially are continuing to build more of them.

According to Svanberg, there are 174 HSPA networks in commercial operation in 76 countries.


Crystal-clear live HSPA mobile TV streaming.

With mobile TV relying on the proliferation of high-speed networks, Svanberg said: "This year is very much about mobile broadband and enabling TV over that."

HSPA is also expected to be the transmission protocol by which mobile TV will take off.

Jan Signell, Ericsson South East Asia's president, said in an interview with ZDNet Asia that HSPA is not competing with DVB-H, in spite of the latter having a headstart in the region's mobile TV market.

Signell said: "Think of it a little like free-to-air TV and cable TV. DVB-H is like free-to-air, [while] HSPA will give users the ability to interact and demand more personalized content from mobile TV."

Because of that "difference", DVB-H and HSPA are fully capable of coexisting in the market as mobile TV networks, said Signell. However, he added that HSPA has a leg-up on DVB-H because mobile networks tend to be more well-established.

"To reach the same levels of service, DVB-H has to build the same coverage as existing cellular base stations," Signell said.

TV-on-demand applications are currently driving traffic growth over networks, he said. This trend will continue into mobile versions of TV-on-demand.

Tandberg Television CEO and President Eric Cooney said in a press briefing that users are increasingly viewing TV "less as a linear experience--you watch when you choose to now", he said.

And the value for advertisers is great--to the tune of US$500 million expected to be spent on mobile TV advertisements a year by 2011, said Cooney. As providers are able to more accurately profile TV on demand users based on information they provide, "highly targeted advertisements" can be fed to the individual user.

"Operators will know how to engage the user and know who is watching and when," said Cooney.

The challenge for operators, however, will be in wrestling users away from traditional TV.

Cooney said that the way for them to overcome that barrier will be to find differentiated offerings such as personalized content, time-shifting, HD quality and video on demand, for example.

Urban Gillstrom, vice president of Ericsson's enterprise division, says the emerging markets are great spaces for mobile TV providers to expand into, because of the ubiquity of handsets.

"Emerging markets will get mobile phones before TV," he said, As such, differentiated offerings on affordable network connections will make mobile TV more attractive to them.

Mobile TV is already a hit in advanced Asian countries such as Korea and Japan.

Tandberg TV was acquired last year by Ericsson.

Victoria Ho of ZDNet Asia reported from Mobile World Congress 2008 in Barcelona, Spain.

Topics: Networking, Broadband, Hardware, Mobility

Victoria Ho

About Victoria Ho

Victoria Ho is a tech journalist based in Singapore, whose writing has appeared in publications such as ZDNet, TechCrunch, and The Business Times. When she's not obsessing about IT, you can find her tinkering with music and daydreaming about which guitar to buy next.

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