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CMMB Vision to Expand the Commercialization of Mobile Broadcast Infrastructure in China

By Caleb Henry | October 20, 2014
      CMMB Vision NYSH

      Doug Sicker, Chief Strategy Officer for CMMB USA, Charles Wong chairman and CEO of CMMB Vision and Hui Liu, CTO of CMB Vision. Photo: CMMB Vision.

      [Via Satellite 10-20-2014] CMMB Vision is getting ready to offer satellite based mobile multimedia services in China. During the 2008 Beijing Olympics China began using the China Mobile Multimedia Broadcast (CMMB) standard, created by CMMB Vision CTO Hui Liu, for mobile and handheld television. The standard, which bears similarities to Europe’s Digital Video Broadcasting-Satellite to Handheld (DVB-SH) standard, was implemented through a terrestrial service to major metropolitan areas. Now The company is working on ambitious plans involving new satellites to bring these services to customers.

      Chinese-American entrepreneur Charles (Chau-Chi) Wong, the founder and president of CMMB Vision believes that by employing satellites, the cost of providing mass multimedia big-data services would see a dramatic drop. He anticipates the cost of program delivery would range from $0.01 and $0.05 per GB, compared to $10 to $15 per GB using cellular networks.

      “CMMB terrestrial service has only 8 MHz bandwidth and limited coverage nationwide, i.e., 350 cities, and only traditional mobile TV services. Satellite-based services will have at least 25 MHz in bandwidth, with ubiquitous nationwide coverage and hence universal connectivity, and will provide diverse multimedia services including video, audio, and data,” Wong told Via Satellite.

      By using satellites, the company intends to sidestep the problem of data congestion that impacts one-to-one unicast networks such as 3G or LTE. This year CMMB Vision entered a partnership with an affiliated U.S.-based company New York Satellite Holdings (NYSH). Together, NYSH will own and operate two satellites from which CMMB Vision is expected to lease 100 percent of the capacity.

      Following a two and a half year negotiation, NYSH purchased the L-band satellite AsiaStar from WorldSpace, which covers the entire continent of Asia. This satellite and the two that will replace it are the means by which CMMB Vision intends to develop a next generation satellite-based mobile multimedia network, starting with China, and then the whole of Asia.

      Wong said Chinese policy has been encouraging media convergence and is easing up on the media market. This combined with China’s large population inspired CMMB Vision to begin there.

      “In recent years China has started liberalizing the media market. It has been inviting private enterprise to get into video and multimedia business. Currently we are in discussion with a leading state-level media company to form a joint venture to operate satellite-based mobile multimedia services in China, which we expect to reach agreement soon. The overall operation is to be responsible by our media partner, which is under the State Administration for Art, Film and Television (SARFT) and expects to hold the necessary operating licenses, including content approvals,” he said.

      CMMB Vision will provide the network capacity and operate as a service partner to the Chinese government. The AsiaStar satellite covers Asia from India to Japan, making China the first of several markets to pursue. The company has a wide range of services planned, ranging from entertainment to remote education to emergency alert services. As NYSH builds out its constellation, more services would come online.

      “The decision to build two new satellites to replace the on-orbit AsiaStar was made on the basis of projected demand and the economics associated with efficiently utilizing the spectrum,” said Charles Naumer, managing director for New York Broadband and NYSH. “The first satellite will focus on delivering services to China with high power downlink and the second will add additional capacity to deliver services to China as well as focusing on other Asian markets, while offering two way communications.”

      NYSH has issued two RFIs, to which the company received four responses. Wong said a procurement decision for the first satellite is anticipated by the end of the year. Both CMMB Vision and NYSH see China as the beginning of this mobile satellite service. CMMB Vision is currently negotiating MOUs in Indonesia and India. Meanwhile NYSH has been preparing for opportunities in the United States.

      “The demand for mobile video content is increasing exponentially in the United States,” said Naumer. “It is estimated that 90 percent of mobile data traffic will be video by 2017. In order to accommodate this increasing demand, we have acquired terrestrial spectrum in eight of the top U.S. markets (New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Houston, Dallas, Atlanta, Miami and Tampa) and are developing a mobile multimedia network utilizing this spectrum.”

      Naumer added that once this network is established, the company would look to partner with more satellite operators to deploy services in the United States.