South Africa sees competition in mobile TV

Rebecca Hawkes | 06-12-2010

Only a matter of a few weeks after MultiChoice’s DStv service took to the air, South Africa’s mobile TV market has been given an added edge with live test transmissions from a new challenger.

Based on the DMB standard, the new Mobile TV service will go head to head with DStv which runs over the DVB-H standard.

Broadcasting from Sentech’s Brixton Towers site in Johannesburg, Mobile TV has in the past week begun running test broadcasts of SABC1 and SABC2 TV, as well as radio stations 5FM and Metro FM, and is set to officially launch the test service this week.

Mobile TV, formerly known as the Mobile TV Consortium, was awarded a 12 month trial broadcasting license for DMB by ICASA in September.

MultiChoice is using DVB-H to broadcast up to 15 channels on its independent mobile TV broadcast network in the urban areas of Johannesburg, Pretoria, Soweto, Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, Polokwane, Mbombela, Rustenburg, Bloemfontein and Durban. Three-fifths of the spectrum was licensed to MultiChoice for pay-per-view services, while the remainder went to e.tv which will provide free-to-air channels.

Currently SuperSport 1,2,3 and Blitz are available on the MultiChoice mobile TV service, along with Africa Magic, Cartoon Network, Trace and a DStv Events channel. Channel O and eNews are also now on air for mobile viewers. More channels are planned for both services, and MultiChoice has already announced its DStv mobile bouquet will cost subscribers R36 per month from 1 April 2011.