The analyst Frost & Sullivan says that 3 Italia's decision to offer free Mobile broadcast TV, based on the DVB-H standard, will encourage more competition on the Mobile TV front from other networks.
With the launch of the La3 service, 3 Italia subscribers can watch TV channels between 8 am and midnight at no extra cost, with the cost of providing the service funded by ads that interact dynamically with the users. The service is unique in Europe. Presently, similar offerings exist only in Japan and South Korea.
3 Italia is demonstrating once more how it can be innovative and farsighted when it comes to the mobile content market, says Frost & Sullivan Research Analyst, Saverio Romeo. In May 2006, 3 Italia launched the first commercially viable DVB-H Mobile TV solution, (which) really caught a sceptical market by surprise. Within three months, 3 Italia had more than 100,000 Mobile TV subscribers. And whilst the other operators were busy catching up with such a success, in August 2007, 3 Italia had more than 700,000 subscribers to its service, becoming the largest Mobile TV provider in Europe.
Romeo notes that in addition to the distribution of content, the Italian mobile provider also developed also an in-house TV production facility, and began to sell its own content.
3 Italia made history by demonstrating that Mobile TV could be a successful business model if developed with the right approach, says Romeo. Mobile TV requires a substantial capital investment, a clear plan on the availability of radio spectrum, and a clear and convenient pricing strategy for the end customer. European mobile operators have undertaken numerous trials in the past few years. The recent successes and positive support from within the European Commission towards Mobile TV have been responsible for a renewed interest in the provision of this service.
Romeo points out that as at the end of May, three new commercial services had been launched in the Netherlands, Austria and Switzerland, while the French authorities have recently awarded network licences for Mobile TV service.
The launch (of La3) will surely spur the other Italian operators into action, and maybe push them to compete head-to-head with 3 on a free mMobile TV platform, concludes Romeo. The same could happen to other countries across Europe too.
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