BT, Virgin and Microsoft have joined together to launch Europe’s first live TV and radio service for mobile phones.
The announcement coincided with the unveiling of a handset – The Trilogy – which will be able to screen the service on its 2.2 inch (about 5.6 cm) screen.
Virgin Mobile will offer BT’s Movio broadcast service to its customers later this year, allowing users to watch a range of digital TV content and listen to more than 350 DAB digital radio stations.
An earlier pilot scheme by Virgin and BT found that people used the service for an average of more than an hour a week, and that most would pay up to GBP 8 a month for watching TV on their mobile.
‘Real TV like you get at home’
Graeme Hutchinson, Sales and Marketing Director of Virgin Mobile, said: ‘Virgin Mobile customers will be the first people in Europe to watch real broadcast TV over their mobile phones. It’s not downloaded, it’s not looped, it’s real TV just like you get at home, and it’s real DAB digital radio.’
Which? technology expert Mike Briggs said: ‘We’ve seen similar technology to this in a trial by O2 and we were impressed. Because this is a digital broadcast more information can be transmitted at faster rates avoiding some of the problems of current video streaming technologies, such as pictures cutting out.
‘Video streaming via 3G networks is already available but is not really suitable for real-time TV transmissions because of the relatively low network speeds.’
Anyone who subscribes to this new service later this year should remember they could face a GBP 1,000 fine if they don’t have a TV licence.