Virgin Mobile France to launch Mobile TV next year

Despite other European operators closing down their mobile TV services, MVNO Virgin Mobile France and broadcast services provider TDF plan to launch DVB-H mobile TV services in the second half of 2011.

The new service, which plans to cover half of the French population at launch, or more than 2,500 towns and cities (well over the 30 per cent threshold set by the French telecom regulator), will be subject to an agreement between TDF and other broadcasters.

French mobile TV services were initially planned to be rolled out in 2007, but never got off the ground due to disagreements between mobile network operators and broadcasters over how to share investment and the preferred business model, free-to-air or subscription.

Virgin Mobile CEO, Geoffroy Roux de Bezieux, said that TDF would pay 100 per cent of the network financing costs and would provide the billing for broadcasting content from clients such as Virgin, which operates a music TV channel and radio in France. The MVNO will benefit from an exclusivity period of several months, he added.

While DVB-H mobile TV services are already up and running in four European countries, Italy, Switzerland, the Netherlands and Austria, the Hungarian mobile operator Pannon said it planned to stop broadcasting its Mobile TV service next month.

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