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3 Ireland trials digital mobile TV

Irish 3G operator, 3 Ireland, said Monday that it has been awarded a license by regulator ComReg to trial broadcast mobile TV services for one year.

3, which already runs a 3G streaming TV service over its networks, is understood to be looking at alternative technologies to take mobile TV forward.

DVB-H technology which the Irish unit plans to trial is a digital broadcast platform which promises to increase the number of channels available as well as introduce new features such as interactive TV. One of the other benefits of broadcast technology is that it eliminates the need to buffer the content, unlike with streaming services.

Robert Finnegan, 3 Ireland’s managing director hinted that he expects Ireland to be in a position to switch over to digital TV before many other European countries. “Ireland has a high take-up of digital TV services compared to many EU countries with 42 per cent of all households using digital TV services,” he said.

The UK is not expected to switch over to digital until 2010/2011.

Other operators in the 3 group are also looking at DVB-H. 3 Ireland’s sister company in Italy launched a DVB-H service called WalkTV earlier this year and is already broadcasting mobile TV to 140,000 plus customers.

3 Italia bought regional broadcaster Canale 7 last year, giving it a network that covers 40 per cent of the population and a license for the spectrum.

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