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IPTV to drive revenues for mobile carriers: UK Study

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MUMBAI: The UK-based Northern Sky Research (NSR) has released its newest survey and forecast report on mobile TV. The study, titled Mobile TV 2006- Enabling Rich Video on the Go, examines the potential for mobile TV over both broadcast and unicast networks.

The report also probes into the business aspects of mobile TV, the various technologies planned to support it and the plans of mobile carriers and vendors to target this emerging mass market opportunity.

The report concludes that mobile TV will represent an increasingly compelling content offering to mobile subscribers and will enable new methods to deliver video programming and advertisements to consumers. Several factors will contribute to the growth of mobile TV, including the increasing rollout of high speed wireless networks, increasing availability of mobile content and decreasing prices of mobile TV enabled handsets.

New broadcast networks are also expected to complement existing unicast networks and enable new business models for both live and on-demand video content. Based on current and projected trends in this market, NSR expects mobile TV to reach 107 million subscribers by 2010.

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However, NSR cautions that excessive hype dominates the mobile TV discussion today. "This market is still in its infancy, and no company has developed a business case that is both commercially available and overwhelmingly profitable," says NSR president and author of the report, Christopher Baugh. "NSR does believe that mobile TV will be a significant revenue generator over the long run, as users increasingly demand mobile services such as video. Several business and technical issues are still not resolved, however, and resolution of these critical issues is vital to ultimate market success," he adds.

Because of the difficulties and nascent nature of this market, NSR believes that 3G-enabled mobile TV will dominate the market for at least the next two-three years. It will take time for broadcast networks to be deployed and handsets made available, therefore many 3G carriers are now searching for ways to make their existing networks more efficient for carrying video. This utilization of existing assets is vital to the business case for first generation mobile TV, as long as it does not infringe on mobile telephony carried over 3G networks.

NSR believes new technologies such as the Multimedia Broadcast and Multicast Standard (MBMS) and HSDPA will be critical to the growth and projected rollout of mobile TV over 3G networks, the study points out.

The report warns that, wars are likely to be waged over the next several years, especially between MediaFLO, DVB-H and DMB backers, but no technology is yet in a leadership position.

NSR does not expect a clear winner in this space to be identified for many years, as it will take some time for operators to trial and deploy technology, in addition to ensuring widespread availability of handsets.

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