Feeds

Vodafone's Orb trial - the worms under the walled garden?

TV everywhere

The Power of One Infographic

TV everywhere

Is this the beginning of the end for the telco's walled garden? Vodafone's German operation has launched an experimental service that may, if it's successful, usher in a new era of thinking for the cellular operators.

Vodafone MeinPC uses Orb's software to allow 3G customers to access the photos and MP3s that reside on their home PCs. More interestingly, it will also permit subscribers to watch TV that's being captured on their own PC, and transmitted across the cellular network.

We can imagine some heated meetings taking place at network operators around the world, where this experiment will be watched with interest. Carriers are keen to cash in on the video downloaded model being touted by Apple, which they view as an impertinence. Infrastructure vendors, particularly Nokia, are keen to push DVB-H (or in Qualcomm's case, MediaFlo), a lightweight, over-the-air digital TV streaming technology, that doesn't use the 3G spectrum. Neither camp will particularly welcome Vodafone's initiative. Then again, Vodafone is simply giving the punters what they want - access to their own stuff, plus TV. And that makes both DVB-H and the 3G download clips look a dubious proposition.

At one end of the (no pun intended) spectrum, Hutchison's 3 network offers dozens of services each with a price tag. It can even sell you user-generated video clips (SeeMeTV - "try not to swear too much") for up to 69p a clip.

Orb's veep of marketing Ian McCarthy asked, rhetorically, why in the year of YouTube, carriers thought they could charge for this. Nevertheless, and not surprisingly, he sees it as a positive sign that the carriers are looking for ways out of the walled garden.

"It shows that the carriers don't want to be stuck in the old way of thinking. The stupid thing is to pull a CompuServe, which in the early days of the internet didn't let you access the web at all," he said.

"Vodafone knows that it owns the relationship with customers, and needs to find ways that are more valuable than ever - so they'll figure out how they want to offer it once the experiment is over."

The experiment continues through to the end of September, and is available to any Vodafone Germany subscriber with a 3G handset, from which they can get started on the go.

One to watch.®

The Power of One Infographic

More from The Register

next story
Auntie remains MYSTIFIED by that weekend BBC iPlayer and website outage
Still doing 'forensics' on the caching layer – Beeb digi wonk
Major problems beset UK ISP filth filters: But it's OK, nobody uses them
It's almost as though pr0n was actually rather popular
Microsoft unsheathes cheap Android-killer: Behold, the Lumia 530
Say it with us: I'm King of the Landfill-ill-ill-ill
All those new '5G standards'? Here's the science they rely on
Radio professor tells us how wireless will get faster in the real world
Apple orders huge MOUNTAIN of 80 MILLION 'Air' iPhone 6s
Bigger, harder trouser bulges foretold for fanbois
Yorkshire cops fail to grasp principle behind BT Fon Wi-Fi network
'Prevent people that are passing by to hook up to your network', pleads plod
US freemium mobile network eyes up Europe
FreedomPop touts 'free' calls, texts and data
Oh girl, you jus' didn't: Level 3 slaps Verizon in Netflix throttle blowup
Just hook us up to more 10Gbps ports, backbone biz yells in tit-for-tat spat
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.