British Telecom scraps Virgin Mobile's fledgling mobile TV service

MUMBAI: Within a year of its launch, British Telecom (BT) has shut down Virgin Mobile‘s fledgling mobile TV service.

BT had released only one handset which supported the technology - the HTC manufactured ‘Lobster‘ phone. But sales of that device were poor. A lack of appropriate handsets and a divergence over the kind of system to be used for delivering TV on mobile phones is believed to have hampered progress in deploying the service.


Consumer demand for Virgin‘s service has been low and BT also cancelled its deal with radio company GCap to provide spectrum for broadcasting TV content to mobile phones. It also shut down its Movio division that was established to offer wholesale mobile TV content.

"BT can confirm that following a review of its wholesale solutions, the decision has been made not to continue with the Movio service," a statement from the company said on Thursday.

"BT is discussing the timescale for the closure of the service with Virgin Mobile. While the feedback from users on the service has been complimentary, Movio sales have been slower than originally expected mainly due to a lack of compatible devices from the big brands. This in turn has been caused by the fragmented nature of the mobile TV market and hesitancy on the part of the main network operators as they seek to fill their own largely under-utilised 3G networks."


Virgin launched its mobile TV service with much fanfare in October 2006 when it spent ?2.5 million on advertising featuring actress Pamela Anderson. The service provided only a limited number of channels to consumers.

Other operators such as 3, Vodafone and Orange have launched limited mobile TV services that deliver content to an individual handset via a 3G network but a fully fledged broadcast network for mobile TV has not yet been put in place.

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