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Nokia creating mobile TV network

Will not use 3G technology

Nokia today said it would help to build one of the world's first dedicated mobile TV networks in Finland.

Nokia will offer a service management product for Digita's DVB-H (Digital Video Broadcasting – Handheld) network. Digita is building the network, which can be used by operators to deliver TV to mobile phone users.

Some operators already offer mobile TV but they typically do so by streaming the content over broadband 3G (third generation) networks. Many operators say they're interested in migrating the services to dedicated networks, such as the one Digita is building, so that they can reserve bandwidth on their 3G networks for other services and offer higher-quality mobile TV.

So far, few governments have distributed the licences required by companies to build and operate dedicated mobile TV networks. Digita won such a licence in Finland earlier this year. It expects the network to be available to 29 percent of the Finnish population, including areas of Helsinki, Turku, Tampere and Oulu, by the end of this year.

The service management product from Nokia will let users navigate through an interface on their mobile devices to search for available services and programmes, and also set alerts for upcoming programmes. The product will let operators offer different content pricing options and makes it easy for users to buy viewing rights to content, Nokia has said.

While Nokia and Digita move ahead, a few roadblocks have been slowing down mobile TV deployments elsewhere. Many operators have conducted technology trials of the services, but few countries even have schedules in place for distributing licences that allow companies to build the required networks.

Operators are still deciding between different technologies, including DVB-H and DMB (Digital Media Broadcasting). Qualcomm, best known for its development of CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access) technology, has created another option, MediaFLO. A Qualcomm subsidiary is building a network using the technology in the US. Earlier this week, BSkyB said it would be the first to trial the technology in Europe.

Few handsets exist, yet that are capable of receiving mobile TV from DVB-H networks. BenQ, LG and Nokia are among vendors who say their DVB-H handsets will be available this year.

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