American mobile TV sector 'faces consolidation'

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The emerging mobile television market in the US is likely to undergo consolidation as it struggles to support the number of businesses involved, claims research from Park Associates.

According to the market research company's new paper, Mobile TV: Analysis & Forecasts, America's burgeoning mobile television sector will soon experience a surfeit of networks, following deployment by telecoms groups Qualcomm and Sprint-Nextel—both using Digital Video Broadcasting-Handheld (DVB-H) technology—adding to those networks already run by Aloha Partner's Hiwire and Crown Castle's Modeo.

Four networks, says Park Associates, is high by international standards even though the US has a relatively low cellular penetration rate. By comparison, people in South Korea and Italy show a strong propensity for using mobile phones as multimedia platforms, but both countries boast only two networks.

The new study points to Modeo and Hiwire as candidates for consolidation.

John Barrett, director of research at Parks Associates, said: "If you do the maths, there are four networks for four operators—and that isn't realistic because you lose all the advantages of network sharing".

He continued: "Consolidation would be a win-win scenario for the industry. Hiwire needs a network, and Modeo needs a more favourable spectrum allocation. They are a natural fit, whereas Sprint-Nextel has a large subscriber base to support its network, and Qualcomm is dedicated to promoting its technology and chipsets".

Lovelace Consulting  |  17.08.2006

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