Global Economics

BSkyB and Qualcomm in Mobile TV Trial


Qualcomm is getting the first European run out of its mobile TV broadcasting MediaFLO technology after agreeing a deal with BSkyB.

BSkyB will trial the 'multicasting' system internally, in the Cambridge area, using 10 live channels. The experiment will start this summer and the mobile TV guinea pigs will be given non-commercial phones to get square-eyed with.

BSkyB, which already has its own TV clip service over traditional mobile networks, is testing the technology to assess its feasibility for a wider commercial rollout.

Company head Rupert Murdoch said earlier this year there are many elements of mobile TV that are still up in the air. The News Corp chief said: "The honest answer is that we don't know yet what is going to work best - whether that is the underlying technology, the business model or the content that appeals most strongly."

Nevertheless, the UK is not the first country where MediaFLO has its feet under the table. Late last year, mobile operator Verizon Wireless announced it had signed up to roll out MediaFLO in the US. Qualcomm has also formed a joint venture with Japanese service provider KDDI to deploy the technology.

Jeff Brown, director of business development for MediaFLO at Qualcomm said: "Our focus is on trials where we can see a path to commercialisation. We see the UK as being the most progressive in addressing the [mobile TV] spectrum issue."

MediaFLO is just one of a series of competing standards for mobile TV battling it out in the UK. Arqiva, Nokia and O2 are midway through a trial of DVB-H around Cambridge, while BT is set to launch the first commercial service in the next couple of months using DAB.

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