Testing TV over 3G
By Eric Lin, Wed May 12 21:00:00 GMT 2004

DoCoMo is looking for 3000 FOMA subscribers to test TV on their phones. A new study predicts 120 million of us will be watching TV like this by 2010.

NTT DoCoMo is set to begin a trial of television broadcasts streamed over their 3G FOMA network. Users will be allowed to select live feeds as well as archived shows from Sky PerfectTV. There is no word whether these will be full motion video streams, however FOMA is easily capable of 128 K throughput, which should be enough for good video quality. They are currently looking for about 3000 subscribers to test the service, which they hope to launch by next Spring if trials are successful.

A study has predicted that 120 million subscribers worldwide will watch TV on their mobile phones by 2010. This includes streaming content over cellular networks, which they predict will account for the majority of users, as well as handset with integrated tuners for new technologies like DVB-H. It's not difficult to imagine this many users in a little over five years, especially considering efforts from DoCoMo Nokia and others. As mobile technology becomes more pervasive in culture, TV could evolve to take advantage of mobile access as well, furthering usage. (If traditional producers don't evolve, new ones will no doubt step in to fill the gap.)

The report predicts the highest penetration will be in Asia, followed by the Americas, Europe then other regions. Which seems like a no-brainer based on populations, except that the European obsession for constantly checking in with reality shows like Big Brother could push them ahead of the Americas, even if they can't compete population-wise. What is surprising are the technologies they predict subscribers will use to view streaming content. The study says more users will watch TV over CDMA based technologies than GSM. Although GSM is dominant now, most GSM providers will have launched CDMA based 3G networks by 2010. This doesn't sound unreasonable -- or so we thought, until the study goes on to say that most users will use CDMA 2000 1xRTT -- in 2010. Claims like this also lead us to believe they didn't count W-CDMA subscribers in the CDMA figures.

Whether we question this particular study, it's hard to disagree with the basic principle that mobile phones are sure to become a significant means for content delivery- including TV / streaming video.