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Live TV over cellphones launched in HK

Posted: 19 May 2006 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Mike Clendenin? PCCW? 3!? 3G?

In an effort to find new and immediate sources to drive 3G demand, telecom provider PCCW is preempting the arrival of terrestrial-based broadcast services like DVB-H by deploying an early, simplified version of a specification designed to deliver live TV services over cellular networks.

The operator is using Cell Multimedia Broadcast (CMB), a technology developed by China's Huawei Technologies, to offer a financial channel and a news channel to its 110,000 subscribers here. The service will be bundled with other service offerings from 3!, the telecom operator's third generation mobile service, and is enabled through a wireless software update to Huawei mobile phones. Other vendor phones will follow.

Huawei's CMB is an early form of Multimedia Broadcast Multicast Service (MBMS), which has been standardized in the 3rd Generation Partnership Project and is expected to hit the market by the end of 2007.

PCCW's decision to move more aggressively into mobile TV is in part prompted by the lackluster demand for other core services enabled by 3G technology, such as high-speed data, video calls and mobile commerce. "Our experience in Hong Kong is that data is very poorly subscribed and people are not making money," said Liang Wu, executive VP of emerging technology for PCCW. Wu said less than 10 percent of the operator's average revenue per user comes from data. He is also skeptical of mobile commerce, and believes that downloadable ring tones have actually been the most popular service.

According to Huawei, its pre-MBMS/CMB offering supports Revision 6 MBMS features, but leverages the existing R4/R99 network equipment to lower costs. Huawei is hoping this simplified version of MBMS can be rapidly deployed in order to "fill the technological vacuum" that exists prior to MBMS deployments.

- Mike Clendenin
EE Times

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