Mobile TV channels in Spain

Spanish Government to pass legislation which will give permission for 20 mobile television channels

The Spanish government is planning to take advantage of the Bill on New Technology and Society (LISI) in order to regulate ‘mobile television’ and digital satellite radio. It plans to amend the current bill in order to achieve this objective.

One of the channels destined for digital terrestrial television will be available for viewing on mobile telephones, laptops and electronic diaries. In other words viewers won’t need to be connected to an aerial. The government plans for fixed digital terrestrial television (TDT) to exist alongside mobile TDT. It is expected that 20 channels will be broadcast in this way during first introductory phase.

Results of pilot projects on mobile television in Spain carried out by national and private channels, operators dedicated to transmitting television signals (Abertis, Axión, Castilla-La Mancha Telecom) together with mobile telephone companies (Telefónica, Vodafone and Orange) found that users spent between 16 and 25 minutes a day using this service although a fifth used it for between 30 and 60 minutes.

Users tended to opt principally for conventional television programmes and music. A large majority asked for specific contents to be included in mobile channels.

Private television companies including Antena 3, Tele 5, Sogecable, La Sexta, Net TV and Veo TV don’t want to lose out on the opportunity to participate in new technological developments concerning digital television and have asked the government for the right to transmit via mobile TDT. In fact they claim that they could act as catalysts for further technological advances regarding digital television.

The government plans to introduce mobile TDT in Spanish cities, including Madrid and Barcelona by 2009.

However, before this it plans to impose regulatory controls to separate TV operators and those in charge of managing internet connections.

Viewers will be able to watch mobile television via satellite or TDT. The latter consists of 2 methods; Unicast and Broadcast. Unicast uses mobile telephone frequencies. Only a limited number of people can use this method at the same time to avoid a collapse in the network. The second method called Broadcast uses television frequencies which means that there wouldn’t need to be any limits placed on the number of users.

According to predictions made by the Spanish government the market in mobile television will be worth around 20,000 million euros by 2015 and will be used by approximately 200 million people in Europe.

Related: Television in Spain