Mobile TV Gets Turned On

Mobile TV has the potential to become the wireless industry’s next mass-market data service success story, according to the latest Unstrung Insider.

The report – Mobile TV: Switching On the Revenue Stream – cites feedback from service providers and vendors involved in recent trials as evidence that mobile TV has strong end-user support.

To date, a number of Tier 1 carriers have launched mobile TV over 3G networks and dedicated mobile broadcast networks, with monthly usage already at more than 1 million sessions per month at some operators.

Report author Gabriel Brown lists Orange France (Paris: OGE) and Vodafone Germany as carriers offering “standout examples” of mobile TV services over 3G networks, while the digital satellite broadcast service offered in Korea by SK Telecom (Nasdaq: SKM) and TU Media is “also noteworthy.” (See Orange Launches MobiTV.)

“The power is its simplicity," says Brown. "Everyone already knows how to watch TV.”

Naturally, pricing looks set to be a critical driver in boosting demand for such services. “Sub-$10/month services will be essential to drive uptake of mobile TV,” warns Brown.

This view was echoed in a recent Unstrung poll on the likely fortunes of mobile TV. A combined total of 84 percent of the 243 respondents stated they are reluctant to spend more than $10 a month to view mobile TV services (see Poll: Mobile TV Gets Zapped).

But here’s the really good news for players in this space. Brown argues that even if live mobile TV doesn’t take off in a massive way, it is already converting a proportion of the mobile user-base into regular consumers of non-voice, visual content on their cell phones, opening up the promised land of rising mobile data ARPU.

“One way to think of mobile TV is as a way for operators to claw open the mobile data box and give non-voice ARPUs a much-needed lift. It’s no surprise that the industry is pushing mobile devices as the ‘fourth screen’ in our lives, after movies, TV, and computers.”

— Justin Springham, Senior Editor, Europe, Unstrung

The report, Mobile TV: Switching On the Revenue Stream, is available as part of an annual subscription (12 monthly issues) to Unstrung Insider, priced at $1,350. Individual reports are available for $900. To subscribe, please visit: www.unstrung.com/insider.

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