Italy is first to launch DVB-H

Italy is to become the first country to introduce a mobile television service using Digital Video Broadcasting-Handheld (DVB-H) technology. According to a report in the European edition of The Wall Street Journal, Italy will this month roll-out the system that provides high-quality broadcast TV for handsets.

The Wall Street Journal goes on to say that Telecom Italia believes 15m subscribers—about half of the company's customer base—could be equipped with television-enabled phones by 2008.

Earlier this year, the Italian subsidiary of Hutchison Whampoa, 3 Telecom, announced that it would launch its 20-channel DVB-H mobile TV service during the summer, in time for the FIFA World Cup—for which the company has live mobile rights to all 64 games.

Italy's launch of DVB-H—which is being trialled in the USA and Germany among other nations—looks set to beat Finland to the punch, despite the Nordic country's Digita transmission group recently having agreed to supply Nokia's Broadcast Solution 3.0, thereby supporting the transmission of different types of digital content to mobile devices over DVB-H networks.

The Wall Street Journal states that traditional broadcasting and mobile business in Italy could be strengthened as they work in tandem to provide TV for handsets. Frequencies over which DVB-H signals are transmitted are owned by the country's dominant broadcaster, Silvio Berlusconi's MediaSet SpA, which is leasing a portion to Telecom Italia and its rival Vodafone Italia, as well as providing a wide range of mobile-formatted video channels.

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