Virgin Mobile, TDF postpone French mobile TV project

6 Jan 2011

MVNO Virgin Mobile France and French transmitter company TDF have apparently postponed the launch of mobile TV services in the country, Les Echos reports citing ‘technical problems’ as one of the main reasons. The proposed Virgin Mobile-branded service, which was given the go ahead by the national TV watchdog CSA in April, was scheduled to go live in H2 2011, covering around 50% of the population. However, despite suggestions the new service would attract around a million paying subscribers in the short term, problems with the broadcast standard have thrown the whole venture into question. According to Les Echos, some industry specialists argue that the Chinese CMMB standard is the only protocol likely to be ready for an early launch, while the DVB-NGH European standard adopted by France, will not likely be ready until 2014 at the earliest. Additionally, Virgin Mobile is understood to be concerned at government plans to increase VAT on television services which it claims adversely impacts its business model which was based on the old, lower rate.

In light of the setback, Virgin Mobile France has reportedly turned its focus to the launch of an internet box by August 2011 as part of plans to offer quad-play services in the country. La Tribune cites unnamed sources as saying the launch will take place when the French traditionally return to work after the summer holidays – known locally as la rentree.

France, Omea Telecom (incl. Virgin Mobile)