Spectrum scarcity to block mobile TV until 2010?

The number of mobile broadcast TV subscribers in Western Europe is expected to pass 20 million by 2011, according to a report from Juniper Research. However, following the exit of the BT/Virgin Mobile DAB-IP offering from the market, the UK is not expected to re-launch mobile broadcast TV services until 2010 at the very earliest, well behind most of its European neighbours.

According to report author Dr Windsor Holden, “After the successful launch of DVB-H-based services in Italy, many other Western European countries have either drawn up or are drawing up licensing procedures for mobile broadcast TV services. However, the fact that optimal UHF spectrum will not be made available in the UK for several years effectively prevents any medium-term deployment of such services.”

The report adds that while service providers could opt to utilise L-Band spectrum as an alternative, the additional infrastructure expenditure involved would probably mean that such a venture would not be cost-effective. It also recommends that, wherever possible, operators should seek to share broadcast network infrastructure as in Germany, where T-Mobile, O2 and Vodafone are planning to utilise a single DVB-H network.

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