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Mobile Video

CTIA 2010: Startup Pitches Mobile Streaming Alternative

SAN FRANCISCO -- CTIA ENTERPRISE & APPLICATIONS 2010 -- Streaming video to wireless phones is expensive, taxing on the network, and sometimes almost impossible given the spectrum constraints. That's why startup Opanga is using this week's CTIA show to debut its alternative to mobile video streaming.

The startup is introducing NetRover Mobile, a technology that pre-positions mobile content for playback on-demand. Wireless networks go through periods of time when they are extremely busy and congested to times when they are underutilized, even wide open. The change between these extremes can happen in just minutes, says Opanga CEO Dave Gibbons. NetRover Mobile takes cumbersome video files and crams them into those periods of free capacity, pre-positioning the content on the device.

When a subscriber fires open an app -- like CNN's, for example -- and selects a video, it's already there and ready for viewing. It's not a solution for sites like YouTube Inc. with thousands of videos, but it is for apps looking to generate revenue from their smaller video libraries, Gibbons says.

"It doesn’t stream, causing devastating impacts to the wireless network and giving a poor quality to the consumer," Gibbons says. "The video is high quality and is delivered without harming the network."

The company is all about building new apps that allow mobile operators to build new revenues. Opanga is going after publishers with content that it thinks consumers will pay for, like premium sports or news.

It's also suggesting operators use the apps in conjunction with data caps. Gibbons says that an operator might implement data caps, but offer Opanga-enabled apps that don't impact the network to users outside of the cap limitations and free of charge. (See AT&T Intros Mobile Data Caps.)

What Opanga is pitching is different from what companies like Vantrix Corp. offer, which is video compression technology that makes the video streaming less impactful on the network. But, given the explosion in streaming mobile video, wireless operators may need both of these solutions -- plus several others -- in place. (See 5 Mobile Apps That Bust Data Caps.)

"There are numerous ways to deliver quality experiences," Gibbons says. "Streaming is today's model, but there's also a way to pre-position."

— Sarah Reedy, Senior Reporter, Light Reading Mobile

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