Finland could become the first country in Europe to offer a commercial Digital Video Broadcasting Handheld (DVB-H) licence for mobile television services.
Finland's communications ministry announced that a fourth digital terrestrial television multiplex would be set aside for mobile television, and was now ready to receive applications for the nationwide 20-year multiplex licence.
The communications ministry said DVB-H services would allow a new market for broadcast content to evolve.
"Frequencies for high-power transmitters have been coordinated for the operations open for licence applications," said the communications ministry.
"The usage of the coordinated frequencies will cover around 70% of the population. The network can later be complemented with smaller transmitters that need to be coordinated separately."
A four-month pilot of mobile television services in Helsinki earlier this year found 41% of participants would be willing to pay for mobile TV, with half of the 500 users saying they thought ?10 per month a reasonable price to pay.
Launched in March, the four-month pilot involved customers selected from TeliaSonera and Elisa's mobile services. Triallists were able to view real-time TV and radio programmes on a Nokia 7710 smartphone equipped with a special accessory to receive mobile TV broadcast in the DVB-H standard.
In September, UK mobile operator O2 launched its DVB-H trial with Nokia and transmission group Arqiva in Oxford. At the launch, O2 chief technology officer Dave Williams called on UK communications regulator Ofcom to bring forward plans to release spectrum for mobile TV services in 2008.
"As an emerging industry, mobile TV will require a willingness of operators, regulators, broadcasters and handset suppliers to strike new deals. Regulators need to licence new spectrum, which will allow global economies to exist, broadcasters and publishers will need to tackle digital rights issues and operators develop workable revenue sharing partnerships," said Williams.
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