Taiwan plans tech-neutral mobile TV
Rose Major

Taiwan will offer spectrum for two mobile TV services next year, and will allow applicants to decide which technology they want to use.

A draft proposal for the license allocation process has been released by the government, with the decision that authorities will stay technology neutral. That means applicants can choose either DVB-H or Qualcomm’s MediaFLO for their proposed services.

Among companies interested in the licenses are Taiwan Mobile, Qualcomm itself, and the Want Want Group, according to reports. Taiwan Mobile is already moving aggressively into the media space, recently striking a US$1.7 billion deal with the Carlyle Group to buy its 60% stake in kbro (formerly the Eastern Multimedia Company).

Taiwan had been trialing mobile TV for some time, with the National Communications Commission issuing trial licenses in November 2006. Four of the five trialists were using DVB-H – China Television (CTV), Public Television Service (PTS), Chinese Television System (CTS) and Chung-Hwa Wideband Best Network (Tw-Airnet). But Taiwan Television Enterprise (TTV) adopted the Qualcomm-developed MediaFLO standard.

The four trialists using DVB-H in early 2008 told the government they would like to set up a joint venture to reduce their risk. Invitations to tender for the licenses were expected in 2008 but the government clearly decided more work was needed before it went ahead.