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Finland to license commercial mobile TV service

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Finland has become the first European country to issue a licence for a commercial TV service for mobile phones, the Finnish News Agency reports.

The Finnish Ministry of Transport and Communications announced on Monday that it will start accepting applications for a licence. The service will be based on DVB-H (digital video broadcasting - handheld) transmission technology. Finland is one of many countries experimenting with TV on mobile phones. In Helsinki around 500 people were involved in a pilot in the Helsinki metropolitan area last spring, which was favourably received.

Minister of Transport and Communications Susanna Huovinen said that her government wants to promote the development of innovations, including mobile TV. The operating licence will be awarded early next year.

Just two weeks ago at its conference in Barcelona, Nokia took the wraps off its first phone with an integrated digital TV decoder.

In related news, Stockholm based Kamera today announced it will launch a live streamed TV-channel through Vodafone Sweden's network with news, sports and regional broadcasts. Expressen-TV - a joint venture between Kamera and the leading Swedish tabloid, Expressen - will be the first full scale television service via 3G. So far, Swedish 3G customers have only been able to download single video clips.

Meanwhile, Sky and Vodafone recently announced a partnership that will enable the 250,000 UK subscribers to the Vodafone Live! 3G network to watch a selection of TV channels on their mobile handsets. Sky Mobile TV plans to offer 19 channels, including Sky News, Sky Movies, MTV, Cartoon Network and The Biography Channel.

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