Technology will ease 3G network congestion but streamed services will still need further capacity relief as support for dedicated mobile broadcast networks fades
A new report published today by Juniper Research has found that a surge in applications which can take advantage of the increasing availability of free WiFi services are set to boost a mobile TV industry with anticipated revenues of nearly $7 billion by 2015.
According to the report, mobile TV traffic over WiFi is expected to increase by 25x over the 2010-2015 period as streamed service penetration and usage levels – also fuelled by consumer smartphone adoption – rise sharply. However, the report notes that despite the capacity relief that WiFi offers to cellular networks, greater mobile TV usage will still place the 3G and 3.5G networks under stress.
As report author Dr Windsor Holden pointed out, “Cellular networks are finding it increasingly difficult to deliver high quality mobile TV services at times of peak usage: thus, the World Cup has posed particular problems with large spikes in viewing figures. WiFi can ameliorate this in the short term, but this is only a partial remedy.”
The report suggests that while the deployment of LTE networks should reduce congestion, the use of unpaired spectrum – as in the forthcoming IMB trials by Vodafone, Orange and O2 – might be an alternative or complementary solution.
However, Juniper is less sanguine about the prospects for dedicated mobile broadcast technologies such as DVB-H, citing the availability of handsets capable of receiving analogue or digital terrestrial signals, the economic downturn and changing consumer viewing habits among the reasons why such networks are widely perceived as being financially unviable.