First ever broadcast mobile TV consumer trial in Ireland goes live

In a first for Ireland, Lost, Desperate Housewives, Ugly Betty and The Premiership are just some of the programmes that 350 O2 customers in the Greater Dublin area will be able to watch live on their mobile phones from today, as O2 and Arqiva’s consumer trial of broadcast mobile TV kicks off. From today, the trial participants will be able to catch their favourite shows on the move, with thirteen TV channels already signed up for the trial, including RTE1, RTE2, TV3, Sky Sports, Sky News, Setanta Sports and The Discovery Channel, as well as interactive music and games channels*. O2 is the first mobile operator in Ireland to trial broadcast mobile TV with consumers. Trial participants will experience broadcast TV on an advanced mobile phone handset, with improved picture and audio quality, allowing users to flick between TV channels on their mobile, just as they would if watching TV at home. The trial will use Digital Video Broadcasting – Handheld (DVB-H) technology. This is based on the same principle as digital terrestrial broadcast television, which means the mobile TV service remains unaffected by the number of people using it at the same time. The trial will be conducted using state-of-the-art Nokia N92 Mobile TV handsets. As part of the trial, customers will also be able to interact with some channels, including a music video channel and a games channel. Customers will be able to select their favourite programme from an on-screen service guide, search for specific items, and set their handsets to alert them when their favourite show starts. The trial will run until 31st August 2007, and is designed to test and showcase the televisual capabilities of next generation mobile services. It will look at how customers choose to catch up on their favourite TV shows, how they watch the latest music videos, and how they choose to keep up to date with news and sport while on the move. O2 has already conducted initial demonstrations of broadcast mobile TV at the Ryder Cup in the K-Club, where an informal exhibition of how the service will work was staged by showing RTE 1, RTE 2, TV3, TG4 and Sky content. Speaking about the trial, Gerry McQuaid, Commercial Director, O2 Ireland, said: “O2 is delighted to be the first mobile operator in Ireland to trial live broadcast television to customers on their mobile phones. Mobile TV will greatly enhance the range of services to users and is an exciting progression in the evolution of mobile entertainment. O2 and Arqiva have already successfully trialed the technology and we now look forward to learning from the ‘live’ phase, where real O2 customers will experience a completely new world of television viewing on the move and will have the opportunity to give us their feedback on the service.” Hyacinth Nwana, Managing Director of Mobile Media Solutions at Arqiva, commented, “This is proven technology, which has already been shown to have significant consumer demand and we are excited about trialing broadcast mobile TV in Ireland with O2. Arqiva has considerable experience in mobile broadcasting, having taken part in a range of trials across a variety of standards in the UK and we are confident the Irish public will enjoy the experience that broadcast mobile TV offers.” O2 UK and Arqiva previously conducted a trial of broadcast mobile TV in Oxford with great success. The final results of the Oxford trial showed that 72% of trialists indicated they would take up the service within 12 months if it was made commercially available.