Brussels, 18 July 2007
Commission opens Europe's Single Market for
Mobile TV services
Today, the Commission has adopted a strategy
favouring the take-up of mobile TV across the 27 EU Member States. The
Commission urges Member States and industry to facilitate and accelerate the
deployment of mobile TV across Europe and to encourage the use of DVB-H as the
single European standard for mobile TV.
"Mobile broadcasting is a tremendous opportunity for Europe to maintain
and expand its leadership in mobile technology and audiovisual services,"
said Viviane Reding, EU Commissioner for the Information Society and Media.
"Europe is today at a crossroads. We can either take the lead globally
– as we did for mobile telephony based on the GSM standard developed by
the European industry – or allow other regions take the lion's share of
the promising mobile TV market. 'Wait-and-see' is not an option. The time has
come for Europe's industry and governments to switch on to mobile TV."
Until now, the introduction and take-up of mobile TV in the EU has been slow
while Europe's competitors have progressed significantly. Unless Europe takes
concrete action immediately, it risks losing its competitive edge. For example,
the mobile TV penetration rate of South Korea, Asia's most developed mobile TV
market, is close to 10%. Yet penetration in Italy, the EU's most advanced
market, is still less than 1%.
The Commission is strongly committed to the success of mobile TV (see IP/07/340)
which could be a market of up to €20 billion by 2011, reaching some 500
million customers worldwide. The Commission sees today's Communication on
Strengthening the Internal Market for Mobile TV as crucial to create jobs
and business opportunities for content creators, service providers and hardware
manufacturers, and to bring new value-added services to citizens.
Three key success factors have been identified by the Commission for mobile
- Standards/interoperability: The Commission will promote consensus around a
common standard, to reduce market fragmentation caused by multiple technical
options for mobile TV transmission. The universal success of the GSM standard
– which had been strongly supported by the Commission and Member States at
the end of the 1980s – proves the benefit of a common standard. Currently,
DVB-H (Digital Video Broadcasting for Handhelds) technology is the strongest
contender for future mobile TV, with successful commercial launches and trials
in 18 European countries, and increasingly worldwide. The Commission will
therefore in the weeks to come prepare the inclusion of DVB-H in the EU's
official list of standards (published in the EU's Official Journal) and will
thereby legally encourage its use in all 27 Member States. It will look closely
at market developments over the next months and come with proposals in 2008
including, if necessary and appropriate, mandating the use of DVB-H.
- Spectrum: Today's Communication outlines the need of an EU strategy
for the "digital dividend", the premium spectrum that will be freed up by the
switch-off from traditional analogue to digital TV broadcasting. The Commission
calls upon Member States to make spectrum available for mobile broadcasting as
quickly as possible, including in the UHF band (470-862 MHz) as it becomes
available. This is considered the most suitable spectrum for mobile multimedia
services due to its technical characteristics. The Commission has also initiated
the opening to mobile TV services of another frequency band, the so-called
L-band (1452-1492 MHz) as a fallback solution.
- A favourable regulatory environment: National approaches to
regulating mobile TV vary considerably at the moment. This generates regulatory
uncertainty across the EU. The Commission considers that mobile TV is a nascent
service and as such should benefit from "light touch" regulation. It will
organise an exchange of best practice and provide guidance for a coherent
framework for mobile TV authorisation regimes.
considered by the Commission as a crucial year for mobile TV take-up in the EU
due to important sports events, such as the European Football Championship and
the Summer Olympic Games, which will provide a unique opportunity for raising
consumers' awareness and for the adoption of new services.
In March 2006 the Commission encouraged setting up a European Mobile
Broadcasting Council (EMBC) to promote mobile TV in Europe. It gathered players
from the telecommunications, hardware manufacturers and the software,
broadcasting and content industries. However, EMBC failed to agree on industry
led-solutions. This is why the Commission has now decided to intervene, and to
actively support the take-up of mobile TV in Europe.
See also MEMO/07/298