French transmitter company TDF and mobile operator Virgin have postponed plans to launch a mobile TV service in the second quarter of this year. The reason seems to be lack of consensus on the broadcast standard, according to Les Echos.
TDF recently completed a study on the definition of the standard, according to which the current mobile networks (3G) and future ones (4G) would not be sufficient to meet the strong traffic growth, especially that of video consumption. Using DVB-H, DVB-SH or MediaFLO were also ruled out, which comes to no surprise given the real market experiences in a number of countries.
The study goes on to say that only the Chinese CMMB standard could be deployed quickly. But its implementation in France would face political obstacles. Another option would be to push a new European standard. The DVB Forum has developed DVB-NGH (next generation hand held), which has several advantages, including the right to develop other related services and to build bridges with the 4G network. But DVB-NGH will not be operational until 2014.
Last April, the French media authority CSA issued a licence for mobile TV to Virgin Mobile. The MVO had signed an agreement with TDF to build a mobile TV transmitter network that would cover at least 50% of the French population. The target would be to reach 1 million paying customers.
As TDF was to bear the costs of building the networks – estimated to be in the tens of millions of euros – it is not surprising that the company undertook a feasibility study before actually committing to building the new network.