Thursday, June 01, 2006

Mobile Fever

As the World Cup approaches and the media kicks up a frenzy, two rival video formats are being trialed in Germany for the event.

Inevitably, the formats are not compatible and are closely tied into service providers, although Samsung are reportedly producing phones that work using both protocols.

The DMB standard has been adopted in the UK and Germany, whilst the rest of Europe is veering towards adopting DVB-H.

In South Korea, TV on the mobile phone has been around for years and takeup has been somewhat disappointing. The service seems to be price sensitive, with the major provider charging just $7. That's not a lot of money to spread around.

Expect TV adverts on a phone near you in the not too distant future.

It's still my contention, however, that the phone will become more useful as a remote control and credit card. Mobile phones have a number of things going for them - they have decent built in security models (as long as you don't leave them in the back of a taxi), are carried everywhere by their users, provide centralized billings and can tell a service provider where the individual is.

Already at Narrowstep we've developed broadband services that can be 'unlocked' and paid for by mobile phone.

It's not surprising to hear today that Orange have finally made their move into the broadband market. With little infrastructure they will need to pay off this strength in billing relationships as they roll out the broadband TV service already successfully deployed in France, to the UK. Expect other operators to follow.

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