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Public Broadcaster Doordarshan Asked To Vacate Spectrum For Mobile TV

This is most certainly a positive move – something which we’ve been consistently talking about – but expect it to be just the first step in the battle for Mobile TV in India: the Hindu reports that the Department of Telecom has asked public broadcaster Doordarshan to vacate spectrum – 56 Mhz in the 174-230 Mhz frequency band and 32 Mhz in the 470-806 Mhz band. The idea is to allow other broadcasters to use this spectrum for terrestrial broadcasting. The final decision will be taken by the Information & Broadcasting ministry.

Now, Mobile TV is a broadcast technology and not necessarily the mandate of telecom industry. Both cellular operators and broadcasters are keen on it, so first I expect there to be a battle to get DD to vacate spectrum, and then for broadcasters and cellular operators to fight over it. At the same time, the jury is out on DVB-H and Qualcomm’s MediaFLO – while most of the people I have spoken to so far feel that FLO is a better technology with quicker channel switching time, handset manufacturers are more keen on DVB-H because that way no royalty is due to Qualcomm. So there is a chance that the (apparently) better technology might not win, in this case.

One Response to “Public Broadcaster Doordarshan Asked To Vacate Spectrum For Mobile TV”

  1. S V O

    C O M M E N T :

    – Govt To Allow Sharing Of DDs Terrestrial Infrastructure?
    By Nikhil Pahwa – Mon 09 Apr 2007 12:54 AM PST

    A lot has been written about DoorDarshan (DD) testing Mobile TV with Nokia (when is the launch, again?), and we’d also reported about Motorola also planning something similar. A Financial Express story claims that an internal committee of the Information and Broadcasting Ministry has recommended the allowing private broadcasters to utilize DD’s terrestrial broadcasting infrastructure. As governments are likely to do, apparently a committee has been set up to look into leasing of the infrastructure, and the TRAI will probably be asked to frame the guidelines.
    As of today, the public broadcaster has a monopoly over terrestrial broadcasting in India, and private broadcasters aren’t even allowed to set up their own infrastructure. Readers should note that Mobile TV isn’t necessarily TV on the mobile or TV via the telecom operators; it could be a direct broadcast to a TV set in a bus or a car, or to a mobile phone that has a receiver. If investment in infrastructure for terrestrial broadcasting were to be allowed, then there’s opportunity for other players: in the US, broadcast and telecom infrastructure company Crown Castle started its Mobile TV co called Modeo. In India, I think it’s better if broadcasters other than DD are allowed into the terrestrial broadcasting space – would you buy a phone with Mobile TV capability just for DD programming? The policy in India is expected to take till December 2007…which probably means 2009-10.

    — @ Convergence India: Motorola-Mobile TV; Broadcast Issues Deferred
    — DD’s Mobile TV Trials To Start Soon