BT launches wholesale mobile TV; Virgin is first customer, schedules Oct launch

8 Sep 2006

UK incumbent BT Group has launched its mobile broadcast service BT Movio on a wholesale basis. MVNO Virgin Mobile UK will be the first mobile operator to utilise the service, having confirmed that it will offer Movio to Virgin Mobile TV viewers from 1 October. Movio includes the TV channels BBC One, ITV1, Channel 4 and E4 in its initial line-up, alongside up to up to 50 DAB radio stations, a programme guide and interactivity features. The BBC One, ITV1 and E4 content will be a simulcast with the standard channels, with the exception of some film, sport and US-produced content. Channel 4 will initially broadcast only specially commissioned mobile content, but a simulcast is due to follow shortly.

Virgin Mobile TV can only be viewed on the Virgin Mobile Lobster 700 Mobile TV phone, and will be offered free for an initial three-month period, before rising to GBP5 a month; BBC One will be available on a trial basis for 12 months and will be provided free. The Lobster is the world’s first DAB-IP-enabled handset and broadcast content will be streamed direct to handsets via the UK’s DAB network, which currently covers around 85% of the population. DAB-IP is the first mobile TV standard to use so-called ‘real broadcast’ technology.

United Kingdom, BT Group (incl. Openreach), Virgin Mobile UK