Monday, February 13, 2006

Virgin Mobile, Microsoft & BT launch mobile TV

Virgin Mobile, Microsoft and BT are about to launch Europe's first nationwide mobile TV broadcast service across the UK. This is a real coup for Virgin Mobile in the battle for mobile data customers. And they don't even need a 3G network. Clever bunnies!

Virgin Mobile, is preparing to launch the TV service to subscribers by the middle of the year following a four-month trial in 2005. It is expected to offer at least five TV stations and access to a large number of radio channels.

The service is offered on a wholesale basis by BT, the UK fixed-line telecoms operator, which has developed it in conjunction with Microsoft. And smartest of all Virgin Mobile TV, as it is expected to be called, will run over the UK’s nationwide established digital audio broadcast (DAB) network. So they don't need to roll out a monstrously expensive 3G network.

The use of the DAB networks also means no further spectrum is required before services can be launched, a hurdle facing other competing technologies. And DAB is designed for broadcast whereas 3G is not.

Well this move should not only accellerate the take up of mobile TV in the UK and make Virgin Mobile a bunch of money - but it may also finally push NTL over the line in their desire to acquire Virgin Mobile. Nice one Branson.

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