Big Bucks Back Next Mobile Frontier: Broadcast TV

By Antony Bruno | September 5, 2005

SAN FRANCISCO (Billboard) - Want to watch TV on your mobile phone? The wireless industry is betting billions that you do.

And they're not talking about just downloading or streaming on-demand videoclips to your phone. Efforts are afoot to broadcast TV programming nationwide to a new generation of mobile phones that can tune in, just like an at-home TV.

Despite the billions of dollars U.S. wireless operators have spent upgrading their networks to offer such multimedia content as videos and music, they are insufficient for the job.

The problem is that they are designed for two-way, on-demand access. To broadcast programming on such networks would require that each show be sent to each subscriber separately -- an impossibly time-consuming and expensive proposition.

"It's very difficult to offer high-definition TV on a handset through existing networks," says Andrew Cole, an analyst with A.T. Kearney. "You have to offload that through a separate network."

Several initiatives are under way to achieve just that, a separate wireless network built specifically for one-way multimedia broadcasting.

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