MultiChoice granted Mobile TV license

Technical development and research to proceed on Mobile TV MultiChoice announced today that it has received a Mobile TV broadcast frequency license from communications authority ICASA after a rigorous process that lasted several years. Preparation can now commence to commercially launch the innovative digital broadcast service.

The company has been trialing the service since 2005.

“Mobile TV is a long term opportunity that will require significant investment. The concept, technology and business models are still evolving globally and it will take many years to see any returns on this investment. However, it is important for the development of South Africa’s ICT engineering capability that we constantly experiment on the cutting edge of new technologies,” commented Nolo Letele, Chief Executive Officer, MultiChoice South Africa Group.

“It is this approach that has resulted in numerous firsts for MultiChoice. We were one of the first in the world to launch digital satellite television. We also pioneered Dual View (now Xtraview) globally that allows you to watch more than one channel at the same time on different television sets. The Personal Video Recorder (PVR), High Definition (HD), and DStv ON DEMAND have all been African firsts. As a consequence of this philosophy South Africa has been able export decoders worth R5,5 billion, as well as service a local market to the tune of R5,7 billion. This makes it comfortably the country’s most successful electronic export ever. We hope that mobile television technology will follow a similar path of experimentation, understanding and export to the other African countries in which we operate and ultimately the rest of the world.”

MultiChoice’s chosen technology behind broadcast Mobile TV, Digital Video Broadcast- Handheld (DVB-H) offers robust digital sound and picture quality. The service utilises a dedicated broadcast network, designed specifically for mobile devices, so many people can watch great DStv content at the same time on a range of devices. This service is not to be confused with the recently launched DStv Mobile streaming service that utilises the mobile network operator’s 3G networks.

The various building blocks to launch the service commercially are being put in place, the most significant being the integration of DVB-H technology into a meaningful number of cell phones. This is expected to take time as the technology will be integrated into new generation handsets. To date we have already invested some R300 million in experimentation on mobile broadcast technology and network infrastructure. We will expand on this investment in the construction of an extensive broadcast network.

“We will work with our industry partners to roll out the service in South Africa and will confirm an official launch date in due course,” said Mr Letele.