Our look at some of the big stories in mobile today: the EU opens GSM frequencies for 4G services; Sony* Ericsson (NSDQ: ERIC) reports earnings; Mobile Content Venture details launch plans for its mobile TV service in 32 U.S. markets; the first white iPhone 4 finally “on sale”; Nokia (NYSE: NOK) tries out 3D on its maps.
— 4G in Europe: A big step ahead for operators (and consumers) keen to get 4G mobile services in Europe.
The European Commission has ruled that member states can use spectrum in the 900 and 1,800 MHz frequencies for 4G services. These frequencies are already being used for 2G and 3G services; the 4G usage is not expected to interfere with that, says the commission in its news release.
Operators are expected to consider both LTE and WiMax for these networks. It’s not clear yet if they will need to bid afresh for 4G on these frequencies, or whether they will be allowed to use spectrum that they already own. Operators have until 31 December of this year “to implement the Decision into their national rules,” says the release.
— White iPhone 4: Looks like Three has done it again. Last week it appeared that the UK operator had jumped the gun on news of the Nokia X7 device; now it looks like it has released news early on the mobile unicorn that is known as the White iPhone 4, saying it would be available on April 20.
Not clear whether this was a genuine mistake, or just a trick to raise profile among Apple-hungry bloggers, but the details page has now been removed from Three’s web site, but you can see a screenshot of it here. This is apparently the first time that an operator has given people the option of ordering the device, rather than simply just advertising it as “coming soon.”
— MCV: The mobile TV consortium that involves various local affiliate broadcasters has upped the number of launch markets for its DTV mobile TV service. In total there will be 32 markets that will go live by the end of this year (previously the consortium had only revealed 20).
The key bit of news here is that MCV is extending the service to several Spanish-language affiliates — a segment that, when it comes to mobile services, doesn’t get nearly as much airplay as the English-language audience in the U.S.
You can see the full list of launch stations and markets here. The MCV is a joint venture that involves Belo Corp. (NYSE: BLC), Cox Media Group, E.W. Scripps (NYSE: SSP) Co., Gannett (NYSE: GCI) Broadcasting, Hearst Television Inc., Media General Inc. (NYSE: MEG), Meredith Corp. (NYSE: MDP), Post-Newsweek Stations Inc. and Raycom Media, all of which are part of the standalone entity known as Pearl Mobile DTV, LLC, as well as Fox, ION Television, and NBC.
— Nokia 3D: A nice little enhancement for Nokia’s Ovi maps app — users can now view selected maps in 3D mode. Nokia does not spell this out but it looks like this could be one of the first products of the company’s purchase of PixelActive, a 3D mapping startup, back in November 2010.
The service works for only a handful of cities at the moment, but Nokia says the intention is to expand that over time. Nokia users can download the 3D app here.
Enhancements like these lave one to wonder whether Bing maps might get rejected altogether when Nokia makes the big switchover to Windows Phone 7 in 2012.