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Mobile TV service: Choice of broadcasting technology should be left to the service provider, moots TRAI

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Mobile TV service: Choice of broadcasting technology should be left to the service provider, moots TRAI

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has sent a set of recommendations for mobile TV service to the I&B Ministry, which covers technology, spectrum and licensing issues. The Ministry had earlier sought TRAI’s recommendations on various issues relating to the proposed licensing policy for mobile television service.

TRAI had issued a Consultation Paper on September 18, 2007, which was followed up with an Open House discussion on October 26, 2007, and draft recommendations on January 3, 2008.

The two routes for providing mobile TV services are the telecom network with spectrum already allotted, and the broadcasting method. TRAI is of the view that telecom operators having CMTS license or UASL license should not require any further license or permission for offering mobile TV services on their own network using spectrum already allotted to them. Two separate types of licenses for the two transmission routes should be offered. Therefore, these recommendations now provide for policy guidelines for mobile television operators using broadcast method.

TRAI recommended that the choice of broadcasting technology should be left to the service provider with the condition that the technology to be deployed for providing mobile TV service should follow a standard approved by a recognised standardisation body. In case the handset is provided by the licensee, it should be ensured that if the subscribers desired to migrate to any other licensee using the same technology and standards, they should be able to do so without changing the handsets. Licenses for the terrestrial transmission route only should be offered for the time being.

For better utilisation of spectrum, the sharing of terrestrial transmission infrastructure of Doordarshan should be permitted on mutual agreement basis in a non-discriminatory manner. Similarly, the mobile TV operators will also be obliged to offer their infrastructure for sharing.

Regarding licensing issues, TRAI recommended that there should be a new class of service providers for provision of mobile TV services using broadcasting technologies. A state should be the license area for a mobile TV terrestrial service license. Some of the smaller states could be combined to form an appropriate license area in order to enable financially and operationally viable model. The general disqualifications that had been adopted for private FM radio may be used for mobile television service as well.

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