Spectrum scarcity holds up UK mobile TV

Spectrum scarcity holds up UK mobile TV

UK lagging far behind Europe, says Juniper Research

The UK is not expected to relaunch mobile broadcast TV services until 2010 at the earliest, well behind most of its European neighbours, according to recent studies by Juniper Research.

The analyst firm said in a new report that the number of mobile broadcast TV subscribers in western Europe will pass 20 million by 2011, and that revenues will rise from just over $150m in 2007 to nearly $2.4bn in 2012.

However, uncertainty surrounding the allocation of radio spectrum by Ofcom, and the exit of BT and Virgin Mobile's DAB-IP from the market, are expected to slow the adoption of mobile TV in the UK.

Following the European Union's acceptance of DVB-H as the mobile TV standard, Juniper believes it highly unlikely that any future commercial deployments of mobile broadcast TV in Europe will use any other standard.

"After the successful launch of DVB-H-based services in Italy, many western European countries have drawn up or are drawing up licensing procedures for mobile broadcast TV services," said Juniper analyst Dr Windsor Holden, the report's author.

"However, the fact that optimal UHF spectrum will not be made available in the UK for several years effectively prevents any medium-term deployment of such services."

The report added that, while service providers could opt to use L-Band spectrum as an alternative, the additional infrastructure expenditure would mean that such a venture would not be cost-effective.

Holden recommended that operators should seek to share broadcast network infrastructure wherever possible, as is the case in Germany where T-Mobile, O2 and Vodafone are planning to use a single DVB-H network.

The largest European market at the end of the forecast period will be Italy, followed by Germany and France.