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DVB-H is the official mobile-TV standard

Business model still AWOL though

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Brussels has now officially endorsed DVB-H as the mobile TV technology of choice in Europe. This means that member states are now required to "encourage" use of the technology, though the commission has no advice as to how to encourage punters to tune in.

The ruling is no surprise - as it was proposed in July last year and got the requisite countries signed-up in November, this was fully expected if not entirely welcome.

In the UK both T-Mobile and Orange are about to launch trials using the competing MBMS (Multimedia Broadcast Multicast Service) technology, which utilises existing 3G networks and spectrum. The technology for that trial is being provided by NextWave Wireless, and CMO Jon Hambidge is dismissive of EU attempts to mandate a mobile TV technology "when [the network operators] spent billions of dollars on their licences MBMS [was] part of that business case".

Viviane Reding, EU telecoms commissioner, has made it clear that if companies don't migrate to DVB-H she'll use regulatory measures to create an EU-wide standard.

The new directive states that "member States shall encourage the use of the standards and/or specifications", pointing out that DVB-H is now an endorsed standard. But MBMS is already part of the GSM (3G) standard, which is endorsed by the ETSI (European Telecommunications Standards Institute). So, member nations could find themselves required to promote two separate video transmission standards for a service that few people seem to want. ®

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

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