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European mobile network operators request for more mobile-TV spectrum

Posted: 20 Mar 2007     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:DVB-H  mobile TV  T-DMB  DVB-T  DTV 

Europe's mobile network operators have called on governments and regulators for more spectrum to be made available for the provision of mobile TV, echoing one of the findings in the final report of the European Mobile Broadcasting Council (EMBC), an initiative of the European Commission.

At the same time, despite the adoption of competing platforms by some mobile vendors, the European Commission is piling pressure on the European mobile communications industry to focus in on one single broadcasting standard for the region. Not surprisingly, it favours DVB-H, the early runner and backed by many of the European operators and chip suppliers.

For now, DVB-H has seen numerous trials amongst operators but limited deployments across Europe with mixed results. The key issue is the availability of spectrum.

The other alternatives being proposed and trialed include Multimedia Broadcast Multicast Service (MBMS) that can be offered through existing cellular networks; Terrestrial-Digital Multimedia Broadcast (T-DMB); DVB-T, a terrestrial DTV standard; or the MediaFLO specification being promoted by Qualcomm.

"Availability of frequencies and flexibility to allow suitable spectrum to be used for mobile TV have to be addressed as a matter of urgency in order to launch services as soon as possible," said Kaisu Karvala, chair of GSM Europe, the European interest group of the GSM Association.

"The provision of DVB-H services, in particular, requires the use of spectrum in the UHF broadcasting band. This spectrum is still heavily utilised in Europe for analogue and digital broadcasting, but some countries have succeeded in freeing up appropriate frequencies and GSM Europe calls on the rest to make their best effort to do so," Karvala added.

He stressed that whatever decisions are taken, it will be important that the availability of spectrum for mobile TV in the UHF band "does not compromise the availability of the digital dividend for a wider range of services, including mobile broadband."

Karvala also stressed that members of the GSM Europe interest group feel strongly that part of the spectrum that is gradually being released by the switchover from analogue to digital television should be harmonised as widely as possible for usage across Europe for mobile telecommunications services.

"We are at a crucial point in time. The market window is open now, spectrum can feed the evolution of exciting services and innovative technical solutions for the shorter term as well as for the long run," Karvala added.

- John Walko
EE Times Europe




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