MTN South Africa committed to TV as a medium

MTN South Africa has launched the country’s first commercially available 3G/DVB-H (Digital Video Broadcasting ‘ Handheld) capable cellular handset. The Samsung P910 cellphone is designed for mobile television with its swiveling LCD 262144 TFT Colour QVGA screen and double adjusting hinge that rotates into landscape mode for a pleasant television viewing experience.

The handset offers the functionality of any other 3G handset but with the use of the first available USIM featuring encryption technology that ensures the highest level of security for users.

“MTN again leads the market by offering solutions that build on existing user platforms, e.g. laptops. Tracing the evolution of content delivery from the desktop to the laptop, MTN gives you the chance to have access to the latest technology from the comfort of your home, office or car with a 3G/DVB-H handset,” says Ashraff Paruk, MTN SA’s Head of Business Strategy and Product Innovation.

MTN’s 3G network covers all major metropolitan areas in South Africa and network roll-out is continuing at a rapid pace.

DVB-H technology is a mobile broadcast technology that enables the true broadcast of television and audio channels directly to a cellphone. DVB is the current preferred standard for digital broadcasting in South Africa. DVB-H is the derivative of that standard which enables digital terrestrial broadcast of live television channels to a mobile phone using a broadcast network infrastructure and broadcast frequencies. 3G, on the other hand, utilises a cellular telephony network infrastructure and frequency.

“3G is a one-to-one transmission and thus is subject to bandwidth and frequency limitations. By contrast, DVB-H is one-to-many true broadcast and does not suffer such limitations. The advantage of offering both technologies on one handset is that 3G can accommodate a ‘return path’, allowing a user to request content on demand, and download it for use almost immediately or at a later stage,” says Paruk.

The mobile TV viewing experience becomes interactive. The user can view Fashion TV for example, and download a Kate Moss catwalk disaster or the latest European Winter Collection. Likewise, a recipe being demonstrated by Jamie Oliver or Nigella Lawson can be downloaded and reproduced for that evening’s dinner party.

For a trial period during the month of October, MTN is offering two 3G streaming television channels, CNN and Fashion TV. The DVB-H trial is only applicable to users with a Samsung P910 and upgraded Samsung cellphone when used in conjunction with an MTN DVB-H capable USIM, within the Multichoice and M-Net DVB-H Trial Network coverage areas ‘ restricted to select suburbs in Johannesburg, Soweto, Pretoria and Cape Town.

“The launch of the Samsung P910 mobile phone reinforces MTN’s position as an innovative leader in the convergence landscape in the telecommunication sector in South Africa, on the African continent and even the world. We continue to focus our efforts to be a superior supplier of communication technologies and value-added voice and data products and solutions, by providing the very latest mobile services and applications to our customer base of more than 10-million South Africans. Making DVB-H accessible to our customers reinforces this positioning and strengthens MTN’s role in the mobile ‘infotainment’ market,” says Paruk.

Industry analysts predict that by 2010 more than 150-million people worldwide will be regular users of mobile broadcast services. ‘ MTN.

November 2006
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