Discussion Papers

Franz Büllingen, Peter Stamm

Triple Play im Mobilfunk: Mobiles Fernsehen über konvergente Hybridnetze

Nr. 283 / Dezember 2006


Mobile Television is a hot topic recently within the telecommunications as well as the media industry. The technical systems for Mobile TV with hybrid broadcast mobile networks and the corresponding handsets are already available. Now numerous players show interest to gain a substantial piece of this developing market segment. Mobile TV brings media convergence to the mobile telecommunications market and the different interests of public and private broadcasting companies as well as mobile telecommunication companies come across. The most important bottleneck for offering this new service is caused by the scarcity of spectral resources. There is a tough competition between Mobile TV and other broadcasting and mobile services on using the digital dividend.

In this paper we compare the two most promising technologies for Mobile TV, DVB-H and T-DMB, in respect to relevant factors like maximum number of programs delivered and range of frequencies used. On the basis of evaluations of pilot projects, we analyse the potential demand, in particular the demands for the quality of service, for certain content and for special features of handsets. We also estimate the potential market size and the willingness to pay for Mobile TV services. Following, we introduce the players who are trying to get a superior starting position on this promising market and describe their prevailing motives and their relevant resources. We analyse the value chain of Mobile TV services and discuss different business models of the potential market players.

We also describe the most important bottleneck, the availability of radio frequencies and the implications of the media regulation in Germany on the nationwide supply of Mobile TV services. In order to see the German development in an international context, we describe market experiences in Italy, the first market for DVB-H Mobile TV services and in Finland, where the business model of an independent Mobile TV Provider is being introduced at the moment.

The paper closes with the conclusion that only market development will show which technology will prevail. Even a lasting co-existence of two standards might be feasible. Among all potential business models the independent Mobile TV Provider model seems to be superior. This is raising competition policy questions which have to be solved satisfactorily and at short notice in order not to be an obstacle for the development of this promising future market. [full text available in German only]

Diskussion Paper is available for download.

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