The German mobile operator Vodafone has its doubt about the feasibility of mobile TV. “The model with a subscription based offer over a dedicated network is very difficult,” Vodafone Germany CEO Fritz Joussen told the Financial Times Deutschland. Joussen pointed at the availability of the new handsets incorporating DVB-T tuners.
“These models suddenly appeared on the market and put question marks with the subscription model,” he said. Vodafone has just introduced handsets with DVB-T capability. The company lost out on the licence process for subscription based DVB-H broadcasts, which was won by the Mobile 3.0 consortium. So we are not surprised to hear Joussen’s opinion, though he does have a valid point.
Across Europe, mobile phone operators have rolled out subscription based mobile TV services over their own (UMTS and/.or EDGE) networks, but so far consumer interest has been lukewarm. By introducing DVB-H broadcasts over a dedicated terrestrial network it was thought consumers could be persuaded to take out a subscription. Research has shown that people say they are willing to pay up to €10 a month for such a service.
But technology marches on and now makes DVB-T reception on handsets possible. This could make DVB-H obsolete, as there is no need for a separate (expensive!) network. In countries where there is a free-to-air DVB-T service, people will choose this option if they want TV on their mobile.