Saverio Romeo (Frost & Sullivan) comments on 3 Italia that is the first in Europe to offer a free service. A first for European consumers, free mobile TV is landing on their fingertips. 3 Italia is the first to offer free mobile broadcast TV, based on DVB-H. The user will be able to watch TV channels between 8 am and midnight at no extra cost. This will be possible through the support of dynamic advertising, i.e. adverts that will dynamically interact with the users. This new service will be branded "La3" and it is unique in Europe. Presently, similar offerings exist only in Japan and South Korea.
"3 Italia is demonstrating once more how it can be innovative and farsighted when it comes to the mobile content market", comments Frost & Sullivan Research Analyst Saverio Romeo.
Romeo goes on to describe how the past two years have been pivotal to the recent launch: "In May 2006, 3 Italia launched the first commercially viable DVB-H mobile TV solution, this really caught a sceptical market by surprise. Within 3 months, 3 Italia had more than 100,000 mobile TV subscribers. And whilst the other operators were busy catching up with such a success, in August 2007, 3 Italia had more than 700,000 subscribers to its service becoming the largest mobile TV provider in Europe. In addition to the distribution of content, the Italian mobile provider developed also an in house TV production facility and started to sell its own content."
"3 Italia made history by demonstrating that mobile TV could be a successful business model if developed with the right approach – states Frost & Sullivan's Romeo –. Mobile TV requires in fact a substantial capital investment, a clear plan on the availability of radio spectrum, a clear and convenient pricing strategy for the end customer. European mobile operators have undertaken numerous trials in the past few years. The recent successes and positive support from within the European Commission towards mobile TV have been responsible for a renewed interest in the provision of this service. At the end of May, three new commercial services have been launched in the Netherlands, Austria and Switzerland and French authorities have just awarded network licenses for this service."
It seems that mobile TV is going through a revitalisation across Europe. But what will the recent free mobile TV launch by 3 Italia mean for the market? "The launch will surely spur the other Italian operators into action – concludes Romeo - and maybe push them to compete head to head with 3 on a free mobile TV platform. The same could happen to other countries across Europe too."
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