Public Broadcaster Doordarshan Asked To Vacate Spectrum For Mobile TV

This is most certainly a positive move – something which we’ve been consistently talking about – but expect it to be just the first step in the battle for Mobile TV in India: the Hindu reports that the Department of Telecom has asked public broadcaster Doordarshan to vacate spectrum – 56 Mhz in the 174-230 Mhz frequency band and 32 Mhz in the 470-806 Mhz band. The idea is to allow other broadcasters to use this spectrum for terrestrial broadcasting. The final decision will be taken by the Information & Broadcasting ministry.

Now, Mobile TV is a broadcast technology and not necessarily the mandate of telecom industry. Both cellular operators and broadcasters are keen on it, so first I expect there to be a battle to get DD to vacate spectrum, and then for broadcasters and cellular operators to fight over it. At the same time, the jury is out on DVB-H and Qualcomm’s MediaFLO – while most of the people I have spoken to so far feel that FLO is a better technology with quicker channel switching time, handset manufacturers are more keen on DVB-H because that way no royalty is due to Qualcomm. So there is a chance that the (apparently) better technology might not win, in this case.