Broadcast mobile TV offers viable solution, says white paper

An "all you can eat" broadcast mobile TV service for about $20 a month appears to be a viable way to drive a large number of consumers to adopt mobile TV, according to a new white paper from the Mobile Digital TV Alliance.

The white paper, "The Economics of Mobile TV," authored by Yoram Solomon, also identifies five ways to deliver content to viewers on the go, including unicast, multicast, broadcast, over-the-air downloading and offline downloading.

The broadcast mobile TV model, however, seems to be the method offering operators a profitable way to deliver compelling content, which will spur consumer adoption, the paper said.

Currently, mobile television is being offered using the unicast model by cell phone service providers. One the surface, higher spectral efficiency 3G technologies would seem to make room for mobile TV, the paper said. The paper provides a detailed economic analysis of this delivery method with the conclusion that the 128Kb/s, 2-minute program for 99 cents will not be attractive to subscribers and won't drive demand for the services.

The broadcast mobile TV model on the other hand may be significantly more appealing to consumers, if the results of the commercial trials in Italy, Finland and the UK are any indication, it said. Those trials showed a willingness on the part of 50 percent of participants to subscribe. In the United States, a 25 percent adoption rate by 200 million U.S. cell phone subscribers at $20 per month could generate $12 billion annually for service providers. The downside of this approach is that it requires a large financial bet on the part of service providers because broadcast mobile TV will require the construction of a new network.

The Mobile Digital TV Alliance exists to promote the adoption of mobile TV technology via DVB-H.

To download the white paper, visit The paper is free, but registration is required.