Mobile TV joint venture passes anti-trust study

17 Sep 2007

The German anti-monopoly authorities have approved plans by mobile network operators T-Mobile, O2 and Vodafone to create a joint technical platform to bring television to mobile phones. The trio will work to develop broadcasts on the new European standard DVB-H (digital video broadcasting – handheld). They may also buy programmes together, although they would be marketed separately. The Federal Cartel Office (FCO) initially approved the plans last month, subject to an investigation into any anti-trust aspects of the bid, which has now been concluded. The ruling will become final in October provided there are no major objections. The cellcos will still sell consumer access separately and compete with one another, but the cost and operation of the core system will be financed and shared by the three giant operators. The FCO has insisted that devices must also be able to receive transmissions from other mobile TV standards, such as DMB, despite the European Union’s desire for the whole of Europe to adopt the DVB-H standard. The three operators plan to launch the DVB-H service at the beginning of 2008 and hope to operate a nationwide network.