UK mobile operator O2 says that its ongoing trials of wireless TV are showing clear demand for the service, contrary to the recently published findings of its rivals BT and Virgin Mobile. O2 has teamed up with broadcaster Arquiva to offer 375 O2 users in Oxford the choice of 16 24-hour TV channels on their cellular handsets using DVB-H technology. So far, 83% of the trial users are ‘satisfied’ with the service, with 76% indicating they would take it up within twelve months; on average subscribers are watching mobile TV for between three and five hours a week.
The findings are a fillip for DVB-H, which is looking to establish itself ahead of rival technologies in the clamour to provide revenue-boosting mobile broadcast services. Earlier this month BT and Virgin Mobile reported disappointing results from their trials of mobile TV using the rival DAB-IP technology. The duo spent six months trialling DAB-IP mobile TV with 1,000 users in Greater London, but found that whilst 59% of respondents rated the service as ‘appealing’ or ‘very appealing’, the majority are only prepared to pay around GBP5 a month for the privilege, less than half the price the pair had hoped to charge. Virgin Mobile hopes to launch DAB-IP services commercially this summer, with BT set to follow soon after.