France Telecom is set to launch a ‘multiscreen, innovative TV service’ in Belgium via its subsidiary Mobistar. Using TV, PC and mobile, the operator claims it will be a ‘European first’.
Chairman Benoit Scheen broke the news at a press conference but refused to give technical details of the new TV service. The launch date is tentatively set at the second quarter of this year. Mobistar is a mobile operator in Belgium.
Mobistar’s parent company France Telecom is active with innovative TV products in a number of countries, including France, Spain and Poland. In those markets the operator markets its Orange TV service across a number of platforms. Using the hybrid Livebox it combines IPTV, satellite TV and terrestrial broadcasts in various combinations.
One possibility for the Belgium market could be a co-operation between Mobistar and Norkring Belgium, the company that holds the licence for DVB-T and DVB-H services in Flanders, the Dutch speaking part of the country. Norkring is looking for a marketing partner of its terrestrial broadcast services and this could very well be Mobistar. Norking Belgium won the Flemish DVB-T and DVB-H licences last year for a period of 15 years.
At the moment, the mobile operator has a mobile TV offer over its GSM network with about 20 streaming channels. No exact subscriber numbers have been released, but it is believed there are a few tens of thousands subs.
In order to be successful in the French speaking part of the country, Mobistar would need a second DVB-T partner for Wallonia.
Another possibility for Mobistar would be to work together with the two DTH platforms in the country, TV Vlaanderen in Flanders and TeleSat for the Walloon part. These two operators already have a complete channel offer, that could be complemented with a streaming mobile service and IP delivered service to the computer or a hybrid Livebox. In France, Orange TV already offers a Livebox with satellite tuner.