Brussels, 29 November 2007
Today the rapid deployment of mobile TV services across Europe has taken a significant step forward as EU Member States endorsed the European Commission three pillar strategy presented in July: putting in place a joint approach to the licensing of mobile TV in order to accelerate the rollout of services and to encourage innovative business models; making available spectrum for these services, possibly in the UHF frequency band; and promoting the use of DVB-H as the mobile TV standard for Europe. Next steps will now include the preparation of guidelines for authorisation procedures and the addition of DVB-H to the official list of standards whose use all 27 EU Member States have to support and encourage. This proactive European strategy for mobile TV aims at giving European consumers the benefits of television everywhere and anytime, as is increasingly the case in Asia and the US. It also gives content creators, broadcasters, service providers and hardware manufacturers the certainty they need to roll-out mobile TV services across Europe in 2008.
"European mobile TV is a step closer to success following today's endorsement by the Council of the Commission's strategy for creating economies of scale in this important sector," said Viviane Reding, EU Commissioner for the Information Society and Media. "This shows that political resolve and market developments are in tune to ensure this potentially multi-billion Euro market is on the right track by mid-2008. I welcome the support received today for the Commission's mobile TV strategy and, by a strong majority of Member States, also for DVB-H. At the same time, I call also on the minority of governments who are still reluctant, partly for internal reasons, to endorse DVB-H as European standard to join the majority quickly. The more Member States participate actively, the better Europe will be in achieving the required critical mass to become a world leader in Mobile TV. Europe must especially not miss the occasion of the European Football Championship in Austria and Switzerland in 2008. I therefore call on the Member States still lagging behind with their internal procedures to intensify their efforts. Watching mobile television should become for every European as easy, attractive and affordable as making a phone call. We the Commission, together with the industry, will make our contribution to the successful take-up of mobile TV in Europe and take all necessary action needed to boost this vitally important industry for Europe."
In July the Commission proposed a strategy for promoting mobile TV across Europe (see IP/07/1118, MEMO/07/298). It included the use of the open standard DVB-H – which has been developed by the European industry, partly with the support of European research funds – as the common standard for terrestrial mobile TV across Europe. This proposal has already led to an irreversible trend in the market towards DVB-H as the preferred European standard for mobile TV, while other parts of the world are also backing this open standard of the DVB family.
Following the Council meeting today, DVB-H will be published by the Commission in the list of official EU standards. As a result, all EU Member States will have to support and encourage the use of DVB-H for the launch of mobile TV services, thus avoiding market fragmentation and allowing economies of scale and accordingly affordable services and devices. In addition, the Commission intends to work closely with the Member States in the coming months on the authorisation and licensing regimes, and to look together with the industry at issues such as service layer interoperability and right management applied to mobile TV.
The Commission is strongly committed to the success of mobile TV which could be a market of up to €20 billion by 2011, reaching some 500 million customers worldwide. The Commission considers 2008 to be 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. Today, South Korea and Japan alone have 20 million mobile TV customers, more than 30 times the number of users in the EU. These competitors have undertaken massive efforts to promote their own single standards around the globe, threatening one of Europe's most promising industries.
To date DVB-H has been commercially launched in Italy and Finland, with trials in Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, France, Hungary, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.
DVB-H is an open standard developed by the open Digital Video Broadcasting (DVB) Consortium. It is part of a family of interoperable standards that dominate digital broadcasting around the world, together with DVB-S for digital satellite TV, DVB-C for digital cable TV and DVB-T for digital terrestrial TV.