The European Commission has backed a single standard for mobile TV in the EU in a bid to boost its usage across the continent.
Telecoms commissioner Viviane Reding has urged member states and the phone industry to use the DVB-H (Digital Video Broadcasting for Handhelds) standard.
Euro chiefs say it’s the strongest contender for the future of mobile TV in Europe, with successful commercial launches and trials in 18 countries.
A single standard is seen as a way of increasing the take-up of mobile TV in the EU, which has been slow to act compared to other parts of the world.
For example, the mobile TV penetration rate of South Korea, Asia’s most developed mobile TV market, is close to 10 per cent.
But penetration in Italy, the EU’s most advanced market, is still less than 1 per cent.
Viviane Reding said: ‘Mobile broadcasting is a tremendous opportunity for Europe to maintain and expand its leadership in mobile technology and audiovisual services.
‘Europe is today at a crossroads. We can either take the lead globally – as we did for mobile telephony based on the GSM standard developed by the European industry – or allow other regions to take the lion’s share of the promising mobile TV market.
‘Wait-and-see’ is not an option. The time has come for Europe’s industry and governments to switch on to mobile TV.’
Mobile TV is seen as an untapped market worth up to €20 billion by 2011 and reaching some 500 million customers worldwide.
But the European Commission says that without a single standard there would be a strong risk of the mobile TV market fragmenting across the continent.