Korean Mobile TV System Becomes Global Standard
By Cho Jin-seo
The Ministry of Information and Telecommunications said Sunday that the terrestrial digital mobile broadcasting (T-DMB) system has become one of four mobile TV standards recognized by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU).
The Korean-made platform's inclusion in the global standard will help firms export network equipments and handsets to other countries, the ministry said. But the competition in the market is expected to remain as tough as before since all of its rivaling platforms were granted the same recognition.
The ministry said the ITU has approved a bill on Friday that confirms T-DMB and three other systems as the global standard for real-time mobile video and audio broadcasting. None of the four types ― T-DMB, MediaFLO, DVB-H and OneSeg ― have secured a dominant position in the market, while prospering in their respective home regions.
South Korea is the only country where T-DMB is widely deployed. More than 7 million handsets, laptops, car navigators and other gadgets that are equipped with T-DMB receivers are in use. USB-type receivers are being sold at around 50,000 won ($50). It is being tested in 11 other nations including Germany, Italy, France, Britain and China.
MediaFLO was developed by Qualcomm, a U.S. chip developer, and is supported by U.S. telecom carriers. DVB-H is the European standard led by Nokia. OneSeg, also known as ISDB-T, is used in Japan.
Korea first started the terrestrial and satellite mobile TV services back in 2005. But despite their grand promises, both services didn't make profits until this year.
For the subscription-based satellite DMB service, the accumulated debt at its operator TU Media is expected to reach 270 billion won by the end of this year. The terrestrial DMB is supported by big broadcasting firms, which are better financed than TU, but has also been in financial trouble for years. Firms blame the poor ad sales, saying that their monthly sales do not exceed 100 million won in total.