German DVB-H declared a failure
German media authorities have declared the first attempt to launch mobile television in the DVB-H standard a failure, threatening operating company Mobile 3.0 with a withdrawal of its licence if it does not hand it back voluntarily.
“We expect Mobile 3.0 to return the licence to make way for a new start,” said Thomas Langheinrich, chairman of the media authorities’ licensing and supervision committee ZAK, after the body’s meeting in Norderstedt near Hamburg. Otherwise, a licence revocation procedure would have to be initiated.
According to the media authorities, Mobile 3.0 has failed to realise the concept presented during the tender, explaining that neither contracts for the operation of the DVB-H transmitter network nor with sales and marketing partners have been submitted.
Also, the consortium has not put a new proposal for allocation of the available capacity to content providers on the table which includes non-linear offers tailor-made for mobile reception. “We conclude out of this that hanging onto this trial would not be beneficial to the DVB-H project,” said Langheinrich.
The media authorities now want to initiate a new tender for allocation of the DVB-H licence. As a revised media law came into force on September 1, the new licence would cover a regular service for a period of up to 10 years, while the currently issued licence only enables a three-year trial.
On June 1, Mobile 3.0 launched DVB-H test transmissions in four large cities – but silence has prevailed since then. According to industry rumours, some shareholders are unhappy with the prospects and want to pull out of the venture.
The crucial point was that the consortium, which is headed by German publishing houses Burda and Holtzbrinck and South-African media company Naspers, didn’t succeed in signing sales contracts with the large mobile network operators which had tried to get the DVB-H licence themselves. Through them, 75% of all new mobile phones get into the market.
After Mobile 3.0 was awarded the licence, the mobile network operators decided to push their own TV-capable phones into the market which can receive conventional digital-terrestrial television through DVB-T at no additional charge. With their move, the companies torpedoed Mobile 3.0’s business model in which customers would have had to pay a monthly fee of €5 to €10.
A Mobile 3.0 spokeswoman declined to comment on the media authorities’ stipulation.