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DVB-H rockets ahead in Italy

Makes the world rethink its sums

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If that's anything like true, then everybody out there is going to have to revise their calculations rapidly on both the total number of subscribers to mobile TV globally, but more importantly on the value that this imputes for the 25 or so nascent services that are pre-launch right now.

Since Italy is part of the 100 per cent club, those handful of countries that have more mobile phones than people, then 17 per cent of the population also means 17 per cent of mobile users.

Clearly, what is going on is that 3 Italia has offered everyone a phone upgrade to the sexy new, highly graphical, DVB-H phones if they would take the service, and is getting good response.

In the Faultline report on Mobile TV we made all of out predictions on 15 per cent of mobile users taking mobile TV as the replace phones, paying something like €10 month. 3 Italia is looking to virtually double any revenue forecast made on those numbers.

Every business plan being used for funding for DVB-H networks will have the service price increased and the market penetration ramped to 17 per cent and a new degree of urgency pushed into it, once these figures are digested.

If they are sustained, and content costs are only 50 per cent of the subscription price, then 3 Italia could pay back its investment sometime in the its third year of operation and be profitable way before that.

Interestingly, US researcher IDC came out with a forecast this week based on mobile TV market penetration not reaching beyond 10 per cent of all subscribers by 2010.

With this kind of experience in Italy, IDC and other surveys like them, which interview people that have never seen the quality of mobile datacast TV, are wrong at worst, and misguided at best. IDC says that users of mobile TV or video content is expected to grow from seven million this year to 24m by 2010.

The firm said there were obstacles to adoption of mobile TV and video services including uneven operator broadband network deployments, handset limitations, business model complexities and indirect competition.

How come none of these are applying in Italy?

Copyright © 2006, Faultline

Faultline is published by Rethink Research, a London-based publishing and consulting firm. This weekly newsletter is an assessment of the impact of the week's events in the world of digital media. Faultline is where media meets technology. Subscription details here.

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