MWC 2008: Mobile TV Services at Reduced Costs from Orange and T-Mobile

Orange and T-Mobile UK announced, at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, their intention to try a new mobile TV and multimedia broadcast service using a UMTS MBMS based TDtv solution from NextWave Wireless, a mobile/multimedia products and technology provider. The service pilot is planned for the second half of 2008 and will involve consumers living or working in West London.

It will demonstrate that the costs of offering high-quality, mass market mobile TV and multimedia broadcast services can be considerably reduced if mobile operators share a standards-based TDtv broadcast network and broadly-available unpaired 3G spectrum. The pilot will also showcase an ingenious consortium model that can be conveniently replicated by mobile operators in over 50 other countries.

During the pilot (that lasts for six months), T-Mobile and Orange subscribers will use TDtv-enabled WCDMA mobile phones to receive different high-resolution television channels (up to 24) as well as 10 digital radio stations, all for a significantly lower delivery cost than ever before. The pilot service will include important broadcast and premium television channels and should prove that there is a customer demand for mobile broadcast TV and radio services.

Network operators from both Europe and Asia Pacific that own unpaired UMTS spectrum, as well as handset producers who can make TDtv a standard feature in their phones, will be invited to observe the future pilot.

“Orange was the first UK network operator to introduce a mobile TV service in May 2005, and is continually looking for unique insights and innovative content to ensure that Orange Mobile TV continues to grow and develop in a way that offers the best available standard of service for our customers,” said Paul Jevons, Product and Innovation Director at Orange. “The results from the technical trial of TDtv in Bristol last year were extremely encouraging, and this joint pilot of the service in London is an excellent opportunity for us to properly explore the great potential available to our customers from the technology. Orange Mobile TV already offers a broad range of content including the major terrestrial channels BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5, as well as Sky and most recently Setanta allowing Orange mobile TV customers to see live coverage of every televised match from the Barclays Premier League.”

“We are committed to widening the appeal of our Mobile TV offering, from the point of view content and user experience,” said T-Mobile UK Technical Director, Emin Gurdenli. “Last year, we revamped our offering with the addition of three Sky Mobile TV packages and eight BBC TV and radio channels to provide customers with more choice. On a technical level, our involvement with this TDtv pilot is intended to raise awareness of the potential of broadcast mobile TV and help stimulate the development of an industry-wide ecosystem in which operators, handset manufacturers and content providers collaborate to realize a robust commercial proposition. TDtv uses part of the licensed 3G spectrum which is unused at the moment and is a technology that can scale to support high simultaneous usage levels without any degradation in quality. This solution would be ideal for broadcasting live, large sporting events such as the 2012 Olympic Games to high population densities.”

The mobile TV pilot will be powered by a full NextWave Wireless mobile broadcast solution that includes TDtv network infrastructure based on the 3GPP UMTS TDD MBMS standard. Moreover, NextWave will provide a TDtv Device Integration Pack (enabling handset vendors to easily add TDtv to any multimedia enabled WCDMA phone) and a complete Electronics Programming Guide to integrate the TDtv service with the operators’ 3G services.

“We are rapidly moving into a new and exciting wireless era, the era of mobile multimedia where your favorite movies, television shows, and music will be accessible everywhere you go, in the palm of your hand. It’s why we developed our innovative TDtv mobile broadcast solution,” said Allen Salmasi, CEO of NextWave Wireless. “We believe today’s announcement of a joint TDtv initiative by two of the world’s largest mobile network operators represents an important milestone in the evolution of mobile multimedia and will clearly demonstrate the compelling economics of marrying our innovative TDtv technology with underutilized 3G spectrum to deliver high-quality mobile television services to the mass market.”