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Workshop on mobile broadcasting - Technological developments, market opportunities regulations and policy


February 23th , 2006 - Charlemagne building - room S3 - Bruxelles



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Article ( Mobile TV sector asks European Union for guideline )


Mobile broadcasting is at a cross-road. On one hand, mobile broadcasting services are expected to be the next big market application in mobile communications. On the other hand, there is a widespread uncertainty concerning standards, business models, spectrum access and content regulation, casting doubts on who will invest heavily in such an unstable environment. This workshop should bring multi-disciplinary competencies together (market, research, regulations & policy) to identify priority issues, contribute to the emergence of a European approach to mobile broadcasting, and try to suggest pragmatic regulatory approaches to turn the “dream” into a “reality”.


Mobile broadcasting services are expected to be the next big application in mobile communications. From a technological standpoint, the combination of wireless broadcasting and communications technologies- the latter supporting interactivity- opens significant prospect to offer cost effective interactive rich MM content to large numbers of mobile users.

Such combination of wireless technologies has been extensively researched under the R&D programmes sponsored by the EU, which has also contributed to the related standardisation efforts. As a result, mobile TV platforms are today reaching the maturity stage.

Such platforms enable the broadcast of TV content to mobile terminals. In addition to TV content, it provides the potential for specific local channels (with information on hotels, restaurants, cultural events as well as alerts for emergency situations) as well as easy-to-navigate portals of interest to local communities to be broadcasted. The latter is of particular importance to segments of the population that are characterised by low usage of broadband services, which is fully in-line with the “inclusion” objectives of the recently launched EC i2010 initiative .

A large number of mobile broadcasting pre-commercial trials were already conducted and are still being carried out world-wide (e.g. UK, Germany, France, Finland, Sweden, USA, etc.) aiming in many cases at launching commercial operation within 2006. Beyond the technology validation aspects, these trials aim also at assessing the consumer’s response to mobile broadcasting services.

However, a number of uncertainties still exist that may hinder the success of mobile broadcasting services. These include the availability of spectrum for digital broadcasting services that varies across the EU25, the plans for Digital TV (DTV) deployment in the context of the switchover from analogue to DTV services, the licensing plans of mobile broadcasting networks that also vary across Europe. At the same time, the success of DTV and digital audio services in each European market will also affect the availability of spectrum for such type of services.

Against this background, DG Information Society and Media is organising a workshop with the aim of:

• Reviewing the state of the art in the field of mobile broadcasting and the commercial prospects for related services, in light of the experience accumulated through the various pilot trials;
• Identifying the existing roadblocks in terms of spectrum and the various options to progress the issue at EU level;
• Exploring the possibilities and options for harmonised licensing across Europe in view of avoiding market fragmentation;
• Understanding how position of the EU compares to the deployment of similar types of services in other regions of the world.

The workshop will bring together experts from academia, on-going IST research projects and National Regulatory Authorities (NRAs) in order to encourage an initial exchange of views, leading to a consolidated European approach regarding the deployment of mobile broadcasting service and their future evolution, as appropriate.

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