Feeds

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

TV everywhere

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

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.®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
Download alert: Nearly ALL top 100 Android, iOS paid apps hacked
Attack of the Clones? Yeah, but much, much scarier – report
Broadband sellers in the UK are UP TO no good, says Which?
Speedy network claims only apply to 10% of customers
Virgin Media struck dumb by NATIONWIDE packet loss balls-up
Turning it off and on again fixes glitch 12 HOURS LATER
Fujitsu CTO: We'll be 3D-printing tech execs in 15 years
Fleshy techie disses network neutrality, helmet-less motorcyclists
Facebook, working on Facebook at Work, works on Facebook. At Work
You don't want your cat or drunk pics at the office
Soz, web devs: Google snatches its Wallet off the table
Killing off web service in 3 months... but app-happy bonkers are fine
Ofcom tackles complaint over Premier League footie TV rights
Virgin Media: UK fans pay the most for the fewest matches
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence
Download Choosing a Cloud Hosting Provider with Confidence to learn more about cloud computing - the new opportunities and new security challenges.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.