German media authorities have declared the first attempt to launch mobile television in the DVB-H standard a failure, threatening operating company Mobile 3.0 with a withdrawal of its licence if it does not hand it back voluntarily.
“We expect Mobile 3.0 to return the licence to make way for a new
start,” said Thomas Langheinrich, chairman of the media authorities’
licensing and supervision committee ZAK, after the body’s meeting in
Norderstedt near Hamburg. Otherwise, a licence revocation procedure
would have to be initiated.
According to the media authorities, Mobile 3.0 has failed to realise
the concept presented during the tender, explaining that neither
contracts for the operation of the DVB-H transmitter network nor with
sales and marketing partners have been submitted.
Also, the consortium has not put a new proposal for allocation of the
available capacity to content providers on the table which includes
non-linear offers tailor-made for mobile reception. “We conclude out of
this that hanging onto this trial would not be beneficial to the DVB-H
project,” said Langheinrich.
The media authorities now want to initiate a new tender for allocation
of the DVB-H licence. As a revised media law came into force on
September 1, the new licence would cover a regular service for a period
of up to 10 years, while the currently issued licence only enables a
On June 1, Mobile 3.0 launched DVB-H test transmissions in four large
cities – but silence has prevailed since then. According to industry
rumours, some shareholders are unhappy with the prospects and want to
pull out of the venture.
The crucial point was that the consortium, which is headed by German
publishing houses Burda and Holtzbrinck and South-African media company
Naspers, didn’t succeed in signing sales contracts with the large
mobile network operators which had tried to get the DVB-H licence
themselves. Through them, 75% of all new mobile phones get into the
After Mobile 3.0 was awarded the licence, the mobile network operators
decided to push their own TV-capable phones into the market which can
receive conventional digital-terrestrial television through DVB-T at no
additional charge. With their move, the companies torpedoed Mobile
3.0’s business model in which customers would have had to pay a monthly
fee of €5 to €10.
A Mobile 3.0 spokeswoman declined to comment on the media authorities’ stipulation.