German watchdogs welcome interest in DVB-H
Jörn Krieger

Germany’s media authorities have welcomed the new interest from market players in launching mobile TV in the DVB-H standard.

“The media authorities have always made it clear that mobile TV deserves a second chance,” Thomas Langheinrich, head of the media authorities’ licensing commission ZAK, told German industry publication Digitalmagazin. “The failure of Mobile 3.0 has shown us, however, that all relevant market players have to get involved in the project at an early stage: platform operator, transmitter network operator, channels and not least the mobile network operators. With this in mind, we expect negotiations and agreements to have reached a high degree of concretion before we will undergo a second attempt.”

The media authorities would be able to act quickly once this point had been attained, said Langheinrich. Prerequisite for granting a new license would be that both channel variety and open access is secured, he stressed, adding that a viable business model and dependable partners were also necessary to place the project on a solid economic basis.

Swedish media manager Michael Werner wants to launch Germany’s second attempt at DVB-H next year with investors. Deutsche Telekom has also recently shown interest in DVB-H, especially as a means of distributing offers such as its soccer Bundesliga channel LIGA total! to a mass market audience on a stable mobile transmission network. The UMTS network of Telekom’s wireless subsidiary T-Mobile was not able to cope with strong demand at the beginning of the new Bundesliga season, forcing the company to scale down its live soccer coverage to mobile phone customers.

After the termination of DMB package Watcha in May 2008 and consortium Mobile 3.0’s returning of its DVB-H licence to media authorities in autumn 2008, this would now be the third attempt to introduce mobile TV in Germany based on broadcast technology.