End of road for mobile TV in Italy?

The future of mobile TV in Italy seems under question, after mobile telephony provider TIM announced it will close its mobile TV service at year’s end, while Vodafone Italia is allegedly considering a similar move.

Five years ago, both mobile operators signed a turnkey contract with leading commercial broadcaster Mediaset to use its frequencies and network to broadcast a DVB-H service. According to the terms of the contract, TIM and Vodafone had been paying E14 million a year, a figure that does not include content costs.

A third player, 3 Italia, bought an entire terrestrial TV channel to gain access to the frequencies, paying €220 million for Canale 7. Although the plans were initially very ambitious (7 million active users by 2011), the operator has since been offering the service free to its users.

Reasons for the lack of success of mobile TV in Italy range from the lack of original and innovative content to the insufficient investments in mobile Internet infrastructure.

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