The Mobile Marketing Association (MMA) has backed European Union media commissioner Viviane Reding’s call for Europe not to wait until 2012 for mobile television and that decisions must be taken in the coming 12 months.
UK mobile operators have already begun lobbying government and communications regulator Ofcom about a licensing spectrum to broadcast television over mobile phones (MW September 29, 2005). Ofcom has so far said it is unlikely to review the current guidelines until this year, with the necessary spectrum not auctioned off until at least 2008.
MMA chairman Nick Wiggin says unless European decision makers act soon, it will fall behind America in terms of technology, take- up and marketing models. America has already made a spectrum available, paving the way for a national roll-out of mobile networks.
“Mobile marketing used to be very mature in Europe, but we are likely to see the US advance in the next two or three years. In Europe, we have been seen to drag our heels with industry standards and development of issues in this place,” says Wiggin.
Industry figures, including the MMA which believes mobile TV marketing is still in its infancy, hope Reding’s call will speed progress. Reding made her call last week in a speech in Hanover at electronics trade fair CeBIT.
Mobile TV is an opportunity for Europe,” she said. “I see this issue as a matter of urgency: decisions must be taken in the coming 12 months.”
The EU commissioner said that the result of the first pilot projects suggest 200 million consumers – half of European mobile phone subscribers – may become mobile TV users.