Dilithium Networks, Huawei Technologies team up to deliver live 2G, 3G TV for Indian telecom BSNL

Mobile and broadband multimedia delivery company Dilithium Networks has partnered with Huawei Technologies to deliver end-to-end streaming video systems for Indian telecommunications company BSNL. The service provider will use the system to deploy new mobile services over both 2G and 3G networks. The solution includes the Dilithium DTG 3021 multimedia gateway and the Dilithium Content Adapter and video streaming solution.

BSNL's challenge was to launch live mobile TV not only to new 3G customers, but also over the 2G technology for existing customers. It's a simple matter of cash flow. "If you have existing subscribers, you would like to get them going on new services before you try to sign up new subscribers," says Dilithium CEO Paul Zuber. "We were able to demonstrate our gateways for circuit-switched and packet-switched, while the content adapter allowed them to do services over 2G. [Operators only need] one solution to deliver live TV regardless of whether it's over a 2G or 3G network."

One of the biggest surprises along the way for BSNL, according to Zuber, was that "you really can deliver high-quality video service over an EDGE network. The assumption is you need the 3G network to do it. What we've showed [in India] and in China is that you can deliver these services over 2G networks as well, and providers can make money at very low price points."

Eighty-five percent of Dilithium's business is outside of the United States — the company has a large customer base in China, India and Indonesia — and that gives Zuber a front-row seat to developing business models.

"One of the most interesting things we see in emerging markets is the many business models," he says. "If you look at AT&T, their average RPU for an iPhone customer is $90 and up. In a developing world, people can't afford that. So they have a lot of revenue-share models, managed service partners who launch services at very low cost to the provider, who can then sell it cheaply to subscribers.

"They are very innovative on how they keep the cost of [service] launch down and build volume quickly," he says. "We did launches in Indonesia where they gave away the first three to four minutes free. Bundling services in very cheap data plans, India is a really brutal market when it comes to pricing, setting prices really low and building volume very quickly. In China and India, just getting a small percent of population is a big audience.”