After the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) finally completed the drawn-out process for mobile TV licenses in South Africa and awarded MultiChoice with a DVB-H mobile TV licence to start a mobile TV service, MultiChoice has responded.
''To date we have already invested some R300 million in experimentation on mobile broadcast technology and network infrastructure. We will expand on this investment in the construction of an extensive broadcast network,'' says Nolo Letele, CEO of MultiChoice SA in a press release. ''We will work with our industry partners to roll out the service in South Africa and will confirm an official launch date in due course.''
MultiChoice has of course worked incredibly hard, and extensively, and done pioneering work in mobile television technology for half a decade since 2005. The company will never ever publicly admit it, but at times frustration were running high because of the tedious mobile TV application process and the dragging of feet at Icasa that just couldn't get so far as to create the policy and regulation framework and issue licences. Of course South Africa missed a golden opportunity with the 2010 World Cup earlier this year that led to increased tension within the corridors of applicants who had plans/couldn't plan/gave up on plans for mobile TV services that would have spurred mobile TV uptake in South Africa.
''Preparation can now commence to commercially launch the innovative digital broadcast service,'' says MultiChoice, only making a side reference to the process that ''lasted several years''. ''Mobile TV is a long term opportunity that will require significant investment,'' says Nolo Letele, cautioning that ''the concept technology and business models are still evolving globally'' and that ''it will take many years to see any returns on this investment.''
MultiChoice's chosen technology behind broadcast mobile television, Digital Video Broadcast-Handheld (DVB-H) offers ''robust digital sound and picture quality'', says the company that's been trailing the standard for years now in South Africa. ''The service utilises a dedicated broadcast network, designed specifically for mobile devices, so many people can watch great DStv content at the same time on a range of devices.'' Of course this DVB-H service is not to be confused with the recently launched DStv Mobile streaming service that make use of a cellphone company's 3G network and which isn't a true ''broadcast'' in the wat that DVB-H is.
''The various building blocks to launch the service commercially are being put in place, the most significant being the integration of DVB-H technology into a meaningful number of cellphones,'' says MultiChoice.
ALSO READ: e.tv responds to being awarded a DVB-H mobile television licence: ''We're very excited.''
ALSO READ: Icasa finally grants e.tv and MultiChoice DVB-H mobile TV licenses to start mobile TV broadcasts in South Africa.