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World Cup Mobile TV - will anyone be watching?

Handsets delay kick-off

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Mobile phone TV (DMB) will be available at all twelve venues of the World Cup in Germany this summer, but whether any viewers will be tuning in is another matter.

Although major supplier Samsung Electronics earlier this year unveiled a terrestrial digital multimedia broadcasting (T-DMB) phone, the first of its kind for commercial services in Europe, the Korean company decided to delay manufacturing and shipping while it awaited the outcome of a complicated license allocation process in Germany, which is still not completed, according to German news service Heise Online.

A Samsung spokesman told us the firm still expects to deliver on time, but couldn't comment on volumes.

Major DMB phone makers expect high seasonal demand for their handsets ahead of the world's most popular soccer event, but there are only two months left, and not much is happening in terms of hardware announcements, at least not in Europe.

Dusseldorf-based company Mobiles Fernsehen Deutschland GmbH intends to use the World Cup to launch mobile TV in Germany. Viewers can watch the German channels ZDF, N24, MTV and a comedy and entertainment channel set up by German satellite broadcaster ProSieben. Debitel, the biggest German GSM service provider, has a similar offering. Viewers are expected to pay € 9.90 a month after the games are finished and mobile phone TV will be rolled out nationally in Germany.

Both companies still expect the handsets to be ready next month. According to Debitel CEO Paul Stodden LG, BenQ Siemens and Panasonic will all introduce DMB enabled phones, but he couldn't incidate when.®

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