Motivation - the need
Mobile phones have been adopted in India far more than any other communication devices. Unlike in the western world, the first gadget in a typical Indian home is not a computer, but instead is a television or a mobile handset. Given the adoption of mobile telephony in India and the reach it provides, mobiles have become an important target for video communication as well. Most of the leading telecommunication providers have either offered or are in the process of offering IPTV. For such operators, the process of addressing the three screens (TV, Mobile and PC) will be faster as they have already acquired the capabilities to offer media related services. The incremental investment to what they have already made with IPTV will help them launch mobile services faster reducing time to market for new value added services for the mobile devices.
Limited Mobile TV services have been available in India over GPRS/EDGE networks for some time but due to lack of quality of viewing experience there has hardly been any adoption. Given the popularity of TV content in India, Mobile TV is well positioned for broad adoption in the market both in India and globally. Mobile TV needs high speed networks and radio spectrum. However, the lack of availability of 3G spectrum in India has held back things. The much delayed spectrum allocation process is expected to get back on track and will provide a significant boost to the market once the high speed data service are available to the mobile ecosystem.
Mobile TV needs high speed networks and radio spectrum. However, the lack of availability of 3G spectrum in India has held back things.
The Personal Screen
Viewers expect to have a seamless viewing experience when it comes to media. It is after all about one’s personal choice: when they want it, how they want it and on a device of their choice. Mobile phones have often been called the 3rd screen (after the TV and the PC), but in reality it is more a “Personal screen”. It is one of the most personal devices that people have with them at all times along with their wallet and the keys. Such a personal screen completes the TV viewing experience giving us freedom of choice and location on a device that is almost an extension of our personality.
Smartphones are quickly becoming mass market products with a slew of popular phones from Nokia, Apple iPhone and models based on Google’s Android OS. These sleek touch screens make mobile phones highly interactive devices and are likely to give boost to a host of mobile TV applications. Applications like Live TV, VOD, Time Shift TV which are already popular on IPTV today will likely to crossover to the “Personal screens” as the media and telecom ecosystem gears up to target a potential market of over 500mn mobile subscribers in India by 2012.
Trends in market
A recent 2009 study from Cisco illustrates the volume of video traffic that is supposed to pass through mobile networks making it easily the most popular application on the phone. Video is expected to grow 151% in the forecast period in 2008 to 2013 and that of Western Europe and APAC will account for 60 Percent of Mobile Traffic in 2013. This is in line with the markets for mobile telephony and maturity of such services in these markets.
Fig 1. Mobile Data Traffic 2008 - 2013 (Source: Cisco)
Options available for Mobile TV?
Currently, Mobile TV comprises three relatively mature solutions- a satellite mobile TV (DVB-H using UHF or L-band), a DVB-H in S-band based ground receiving mobile TV and use of IP-based cellular networks f