Asia to Overtake Europe in Mobile TV

There's plenty of bandwidth to fill demand but still no consensus on tech standards or business models

Asia is set to overtake Europe's early lead in adopting mobile television broadcasting as Europe struggles to find available airwaves for broadcasts, industry executives, quoted by a Reuters report, said.

"Out of the regions of the world this represents the most interesting at the moment," Peter MacAvock, executive director of industry body DVB Project, told Reuters in an interview at the BroadcastAsia fair in Singapore.

"The appetite for mobile phone based content is higher here than anywhere else."

Mobile operators hope that mobile TV could encourage users to spend an extra 5 euros ($7) to 10 euros ($13) a month, compensating for declining revenues from voice calls.

But executives said a lack of consensus on business models and the variety of different technologies were holding back take-up of mobile TV, the Reuters report said.

"Everybody thinks mobile TV is a great idea, but when it's time to get out the chequebook everyone starts to look at each other," MacAvock said.

So far only one standard, digital video broadcast handheld (DVB-H), has been taken up globally, while Korea, Japan, US and China are embracing local technologies, the Reuters report further said.

Some of these other technologies are also aiming for the global market, preventing services from being offered worldwide under a single standard.

"That standard issue needs to sort itself out first," said Chris Lee, Sony Ericsson's head of marketing in Asia Pacific was also quoted by the Reuters report as saying.

Because spectrum availability is not a problem in many Asian countries, commercial DVB-H broadcasts have already started in India and Vietnam, with Malaysia, the Philippines and Indonesia also set to open networks this year, the report added.

In Europe, three countries have started commercial networks.