Mobile TV subs to reach 65 million by 2010

8 Sep 2005

Subscriptions for mobile phone streaming or broadcasting TV services is predicted to reach 65 million by the end of 2010, according to research from Juniper Research.

While streamed services are expected to account for the majority of customers at 56pc and 51pc of the market’s revenue by that time, the rollout of mobile broadcast TV services at the end of the decade should see broadcast subscriptions and revenues overtake mobile streaming TV by 2012.

According to the report’s author Dr Windsor Holden, operators and broadcasters still face significant challenges before such services can be launched.

Holden said: “Except in Korea, where services were launched in May, broadcast TV via the mobile is very much at the drawing board. We still have a number of different standards jockeying for position.

“When a standard is finally selected, you have to find spectrum. When you have spectrum, you then have to build a dedicated network. While all the technological issues are being resolved, you have to put together a viable content package.

“And at the present time, we have no clearly defined value chain: who will provide the services? The broadcasters? The operators? An aggregator? Quite clearly a number of options are possible, but these need to be finalised prior to the licensing process.”

Holden added that even when the commercial networks have become established, participants must be prepared to wait for several years before seeing any return on their initial investments.

“In the US, for example, Qualcomm and Crown Castle have envisaged rollout costs alone of US$1.8bn between them: it’s unlikely that cumulative subscription revenues from the US will even reach the US$1bn mark until four years of commercial service.”

The report found that revenue from mobile TV subscriptions will rise from just US$136m in 2005 to US$7.6bn in 2010.

Broadcast TV services are expected to have been launched in 21 markets by 2010, with the largest number of users in Japan (8.6 million) and the US (7.9 million).

Juniper says the most popular broadcast technology will be digital video broadcast — handheld, which will be used by 35pc of users worldwide.

By John Kennedy