Alcatel-Lucent Exec Talks Up Satellite for Mobile Television

By | December 20, 2007 | Broadcasting, Feature

[12-20-07 – Satellite News] The role of satellites in mobile television in Europe has been bought into sharper focus as Alcatel-Lucent has teamed up with mobile operator 3 Italia and Italian public broadcaster RAI to launch the first trial of mobile TV based on the DVB-SH (digital video broadcasting–satellite services to handhelds) has been launched in Italy.
    The trial will take place in Turin, with the first phase running from December 2007 March. The trial, based on Alcatel-Lucent’s Unlimited Mobile TV solution, uses a multi-layer DVB-SH terrestrial network blending low-power transmitters from a mobile operator and medium-power transmitters from a broadcaster.
    “The partners share the common interest in testing a solution that combines high-power installations (traditional broadcast TV networks) and low-power ones (cellular networks) in order to optimize the performance of the solution,” said Olivier Coste, chairman of Alcatel-Lucent Mobile Broadcast. “Satellite brings a complementary coverage and an instantaneous coverage of 100 percent of a territory such as Italy.
    Coste believes this effort could herald a breakthrough for satellites in a potentially lucrative market. “It is expected that this trial will allow the demonstration of improved reception quality made possible by the DVB-SH standard, thanks in particular, to improved radio performances for mobile reception (such as the time interleaver and as the reception antenna diversity) related to the use of S-band, in particular for indoor and particularly critical outdoor reception environments,” he said.
    A first S-Band enabled satellite will allow to offer a service on the whole Italian territory as early as beginning 2009, Coste said.

Other Trials

    Alcatel-Lucent also is working on trials in France and Spain.
    In the first half of 2006, Alcatel-Lucent tested its Unlimited Mobile TV solution based on DVB-SH with Telefónica in Spain as part of a multimedia mobile interactive TV, radio and music pilot project for mobile devices. In June, Alcatel-Lucent took part in a trial with French mobile operator SFR in southwest France to test Unlimited Mobile TV for broadcast mobile TV using the DVB-SH standard in S-band.
    Alcatel-Lucent also announced Dec. 19 that it is preparing for a mobile TV demonstration in the United States in early 2008 based on the DVB-SH standard with ICO Global Communications.
    “Last spring, ICO announced agreements with Alcatel-Lucent and Hughes to develop key architecture and technology for use in ICO’s alpha trial based upon ICO’s next-generation geostationary satellite and the deployment of an ancillary terrestrial component using the mobile multimedia DVB-SH open standard,” Coste said. The service is scheduled for launch in March in the Raleigh-Durham area of North Carolina and Las Vegas, he said.
    Coste is optimistic that satellites can play more than a niche role in the developing mobile TV market. “Today, the only commercially-deployed DVB-H (digital video broadcasting-handheld) system is that of H3G in Italy,” he said. “Other DVB-H systems may start in some countries in Europe in 2008. Hybrid satellite/terrestrial solutions can play a significant role either as a complement to existing DVB-H networks or as substitutes, for example when UHF spectrum is not yet available. Moreover, the DVB-SH technology brings improvements to DVB-H which enable significant infrastructure cost reductions.”

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