Mobile TV: Trai paper seeks clarity on spectrum allocation

NEW DELHI:The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India today issued the consultation paper on mobile TV, in which the key issue that will generate debate will be the frequency requirement for different broadcast technological standards for terrestrial and satellite mobile television transmission in India.

One key issue is of prioritisation, as Trai asks whether Digital Terrestrial Transmission should be given priority for the spectrum assignment over mobile TV, particularly in view of the fact that the Mobile TV all over the world is essentially at a trial stage.

Trai is debating which route would be preferable for mobile TV transmission - dedicated terrestrial transmission route or the satellite route.

"Should the mobile TV operator be free to decide the appropriate route for transmission?" the Trai paper asks of stakeholders.

Additionally, how are spectrum requirements for analogue / Digital/ Mobile TV terrestrial broadcasting to be accommodated in the frequency bands of operation.

Should mobile TV be earmarked some limited assignment in these broadcasting bands, leaving the rest for analogue and digital terrestrial transmission?

Trai has asked the stakeholders that in the case of terrestrial transmission route, how many channels of 8 MHz should be blocked for mobile TV services for initial and future demand of the services as there are nearly 270 TV channels permitted under downlinking guidelines by the information and broadcasting ministry.

The other critical issue is that of eligibility conditions for grant of license for mobile television services.

Should net worth requirements be laid down for participation in licensing process for mobile television services, and if so, what should be the net worth requirements for participation in licensing process.

Another contentious issue in the cable industry is the limit for FDI and portfolio investment for mobile television service providers, and this would be debated thoroughly by the non-IPTV players in the cable industry, who have been hankering for a lift of the cap on FDI in their sector.

There are some other related issues, like what should be the tenure of license for the mobile television service providers, and what should be the license fee to be imposed on the mobile television service.

Trai also wants to know whether the licenses for mobile television service should be given on national or regional and city basis.

In its backgrounder to the Consultation Paper, Trai has observed: "The key to making mobile TV a reality lies in combining traditional broadcast standards with features specific to handheld devices: mobility, smaller screens and antennae, indoor coverage, and reliance on battery power.

"Two forces are currently driving mobile TV development and its commercialisation: Network providers and Mobile TV service providers see it as an additional possible revenue over and above voice income flow, and cell phone manufacturers see an opportunity to sell new, more expensive TV-capable handsets."

Trai said that the paper is being issued in accordance with the Information & Broadcasting ministry seeking its recommendations and the specific issue that the ministry has suggested that needs attention are:

  • International practice,
  • Eligibility criteria, net-worth requirement,

  • Foreign direct and indirect investment levels,

  • Technology to be adopted, Revenue sharing, entry fees and bank guarantee, and

  • Spectrum to be used

Trai has requested stakeholders to send in their responses by 30 September.


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