France leads in mobile TV subs

The European mobile TV race has seen France overtake Italy in the number of users registered by the end of this year. The two leading French operators, Orange and SFR, have announced a combined 1.2 million mobile TV subscriber base--1 million for Orange and 200,000 for SFR. They claim to have both seen mobile TV growth of over 40 percent in the last quarter, mainly due to the launch of unlimited mobile data bundles which include unlimited usage of mobile TV, video and music services.

However, while Italy has a dedicated mobile TV network, the two French operators continue to offer the service over their 3G networks leading to comments that QoS will decline as more voice and data users access 3G. In particular, there is growing doubt that the 3G network will support the mobile TV traffic that will be generated by next year's sporting events such as the European Football Championships and the Olympics.

Meanwhile, Alcatel-Lucent, 3 Italia and Italian public broadcaster RAI have announced that they have launched the first trial of mobile TV based on the DVB-Satellite Handheld (SH) standard in Italy. The trial will take place in Torino and it will be overseen by RAI R&D and Raiway, providing their three-year-old experience in mobile-TV field tests. Cellular sites provided by 3 Italia will allow indoor coverage of Torino's city centre, while broadcast towers provided by RAI and Raiway will allow outdoor and vehicular coverage of the entire town of Torino.

For more on this story:
- read Screen Digest and 3G.UK