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TV soon – at a phone near you

: Thursday, May 19 - 2005 @ 09:08

It will also be the year when TV will arrive on the mobile phone. For the past couple of years the phrase ‘content is king’ has become the buzzword in operator circles. Considering the dilemma many operators face as traditional revenues stagnate, with penetration levels already at or near saturation in many markets, after the heavy investment in 3G licences and the push to grow, applications looks like the way to go. The application space with offerings such as MMS, gaming, Java applications, m-commerce, e-mail, electronic wallet, GPS and many others, is attracting more competition from the likes of Nokia and Microsoft.

TNS has conducted extensive research into the new models and has found that in advanced markets such as Japan and Korea mobile users are happy to extend the use of their mobile phone into advanced application areas. In fact our research found a market ready and willing to pay up to 30% premiums for such services. Good news indeed for the operators.

The grandfather of all the content models has to be NTT-DoCoMo with its i-mode and then Vodafone’s live, Orange world, T-Mobile’s T-Zone and so on. In Japan, DoCoMo has moved almost 45 million of its 50 million subscribers to i-mode. Our research also points to an increase of ARPU (Average Revenue per User) of as much as 20% if a subscriber has access to advanced applications ; and we also found that loyalty to an operator is enhanced with access to advanced applications.

Korea seems to have taken the leadership again. Samsung the Korean technology giant has produced and successfully introduced the TV Phone. This is a mobile phone with a high definition colour screen, incorporating a high performance antenna and able to receive signals from all 4 South Korean TV channels. The phone has an LCD display and the picture can be viewed horizontally or vertically. It also has the capability to record and store TV broadcasts. Capacity may be quite small today but this will be improved in the future so full programming can be recorded and viewed later. Retails at around US $500.

Estimates from Nokia indicate that the growth in mobile data application revenues will reach $200 billion by 2007. This assumes an operator will have accurate information and understand trends early to enable them to offer the solutions subscribers are showing interest in. It will also involve innovative new models that will optimise usage of network, priced accordingly ; and ensuring that content experts market and promote to the operator’s customer base in different, imaginative ways. SKTelecom has engaged a boy band to help market their content offering. Pricing per download will create new revenue opportunities for operators as users will undoubtedly prefer to view and test before they commit to a purchase.

Already 84 operators round the world have launched mobile video services. Interestingly UK’s 3 has introduced packages that incorporate traditional mobile phone capability with a news and sports offering and are priced to compete with the 2.5 G offerings. It is not yet over the air TV but that is only a step away. 3 Hong Kong is offering a real time ‘live traffic’ service which provides 24hr access to traffic cameras around the major roads and tunnels in Hong Kong.

And looking into the future TV on the mobile will also have an impact on the advertising world, especially as mobile users do not follow traditional TV viewing patterns.

We will have one device – our mobile – for all our communication needs ; voice, e-mail, video conference calls, music, TV, and soon advanced payments. It will become the personalised, individual media center in our pockets – as well as our credit card. This single item will soon become critical in our daily lives.

The future has arrived.

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Thursday, May 19- 2005 @ 9:08 UAE local time (GMT+4) Replication or redistribution in whole or in part is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Mediaquest FZ LLC.

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