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Mobile TV in the UAE postponed indefinitely
While the rest of the world’s done the whole mobile TV thing, the UAE moved with sluggish stealth that its technology is now dated.
May 11, 2011 4:44 by Eva Fernandes
Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No! It is the UAE’s super ‘du’per teleco sector, of course.
You know who we are talking about, the one Gulf country whose telecos are always ahead of the times; bringing its customers the most modern services like VOIP and mobile TV.
Wait, what is that? Kipp’s mistaken the PR for the facts? They’re not as ahead of the times as Kipp thinks they are? What’s that? They don’t offer VOIP and not even mobile TV?
Well according to this morning’s The National, the UAE telecos seem to have postponed their plans to introduce mobile TV indefinitely. In 2009, Etisalat and du teamed up with Abu Dhabi Media, Dubai Media Incorporated and MBC for plans to launch and provide TV services over the mobile phone. The TRA, for their part, agreed to grant the license to the merry gang of go-getters to provide mobile TV broadcasting services for 10 years, with an acquisition fee of Dh17 million.
And now, two years after the ambitious plans, the telecos say “the initiative has been put to the side.”
Osman Sultan, the chief executive of du, said the project was on hold: “What is putting this project on hold is the technology itself. The business model is a very good model. The partners decided to just wait a little bit to see what is the outcome of this technology, specifically with the progress of what is being done with the 3G.”
Kipp can’t help but be reminded of an article on Mobile TV becoming increasing more popular in Europe that was published, wait for it, three years ago.
Here are some of our favourite bits from that NY Times piece:
-“Every day in Switzerland, 40,000 people watch a 100-second television news broadcast on their cellphones. In Italy, a million people pay as much as 19 euros each ($29) a month to watch up to a dozen mobile TV channels.”
-Tiny TV (…) is spreading beyond Japan and South Korea, where it has been available for about three years. (…) Japan is the leader in direct mobile television, with 20 million cellphones equipped with TV receivers, followed by South Korea with 8.2 million, according to In-Stat, a research and consulting firm in Scottsdale, Ariz.”
So here we are super duper ambitious telecos of the UAE, three years after the world has embraced and moved forward in the world of mobile TV, still limping behind. You want to know the funny part? Just last week, Etisalat Sri Lanka just launched a super high-speed 3.75G wireless network enabling mobile broadband customers very fast Internet access, video calls and games, and mobile TV.