A report from the market research company, Strategy Analytics, shows that an on-demand mobile TV service, offered by the Rok Group, came second in a UK user trial behind Vodafone Vodalive offering. But that’s ahead of Orange and (Hutchison) 3’s offerings.
Rok TV has just gone live in the US, and the company is quite likely to make an impact in one of the biggest markets for mobile and television. Rok has been doing particularly well with those mobile network operators who haven’t sunk billions into 3G technology and just want to offer their subscribers access to mobile TV.
The crucial point is that Rok’s service runs over 2.5G whereas all the other are 3G services. This means, the company will compete with MobiTV, one of the companies that has helped prove that there is demand for television-on-mobiles. Only this month the VC firm Oak Investment Partners led a $70 million investment into MobiTV, which says it has struck deals with numerous mobile network operators globally as well as supplying AT&T’s Wi-Fi network.
Elsewhere, while its rivals struggle to make video work over 3G links–and 3.5G connections using say HSDPA — Rok’s compression techniques are good enough to stream a TV channel to an existing handset using 2.5G/GPRS as the carrier. The company has filed some 34 separate claims as part of its overall patent application. ROK already has the patent in the UK (GB 2410817) and has applied for similar patents on a global basis.
Rok is expanding into all the obvious markets. It has signed a deal with Shanghai Dragon Mobile Information Ltd, an approved content supplier for the world’s largest mobile network operator – China Mobile. It has struck similar deals in Taiwan, Turkey, Thailand, South Africa, Brazil and Russia.