The European Commission has published a set of guidelines for the authorisation of Mobile TV to accelerate roll-out of the service across Europe, but has said it is opposed to heavy regulation or “burdensome” authorisation procedures.
EU Telecoms and Media Commissioner Viviane Reding said that successful commercial launches of mobile TV in Austria, Italy, Finland and the Netherlands had proven that efficient authorisation procedures were a key factor for the fast take-up of the service.
Said Reding: “In Austria, 5,000 citizens were using mobile TV within the first weeks of its launch. With predicted growth in sales during the Christmas period, many more Europeans should have the opportunity to watch TV on the go.
“This is why we want to give EU Member States guidance on how to allow industry to get these innovative services on track as quickly and smoothly as possible. We stand for a collaborative approach between all actors involved including broadcasters, mobile operators and platforms operators, and we oppose heavy regulation or burdensome authorisation procedures for the introduction of mobile TV in Europe.”
The EC said it had identified the main principles which EU regulators and governments should follow when authorising operators to provide mobile TV services, including that frequencies made available for mobile TV should be withdrawn if the service has not started within a reasonable period of time. Regulators should keep the authorisation process open to all industry players and create conditions which encourage cooperation between telecoms operators and broadcasters. Also, DVB-H based mobile TV services in every EU country should work together.
The Commission said mobile TV revenues worldwide are expected to reach more than €7.8 billion in 2013.
Analysts have welcomed the move but said mobile versions of existing free-to-air TV channels would work best if launched first.
Informa senior analyst Shailenda Pandey said: “It seems that a good approach for mobile operators will be to start with a free-to-air business model which also involves minimum capital investment. Once user uptake of services starts to grow, operators can then think of developing new revenue models that can be established on top of the free-to-air content platform.”