Italy: 3 Italia denied switch to DVB-T

Italy’s Communications Authority (AgCom) has unanimously rejected a request by mobile telephony operator 3 Italia (H3G) to switch its DVB-H frequencies (for mobile TV) to DVB-T (for digital terrestrial TV).

The regulator’s decision was based on the existing legislation, as there is no legal basis to authorise the exchange of frequencies. Also, the destination of the digital multiplex cannot be changed due to ongoing process for the allocation of additional frequencies.

The CEO of 3 Italia, Vincenzo Novari, claims that 3 Italia acquired in 2005 a DVB-T licence for €230 million, which was converted in 2008 by the Ministry of Communications into a general authorisation to transmit both in DVB-T and DVB-H. Last month, the mobile operator received, from the then Minister for Economic Development Paolo Romani, the provisional authorisation to use its DVB-H frequencies for DTT broadcasts.

The operator’s only hope now is that a new set of regulations could be passed, which could review the procedures for the so-called “beauty contest” and also allow those who have DVB-H frequencies to switch them to those for TV broadcasting.

Rival mobile operators TIM Italia and Vodafone Italia recently decided to abandon DVB-H, by not renewing or cancelling existing agreements for the transmission of content.

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