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Last Updated: Friday, 16 March 2007, 15:58 GMT
Mobile TV warned to standardise
By Mark Ward
Technology correspondent, BBC News website

Viviane Reding
Ms Reding demanded a decision on standardisation by the summer
A European Commission (EC) official has issued a stern warning to those involved in mobile TV to agree on adopting a single technology standard.

EC telecoms commissioner Viviane Reding said that if the industry did not agree on one, she would do it for them.

Ms Reding warned that Europe risked losing a chance to be a global player in the burgeoning mobile TV market.

She made her comments during a speech to delegates at the Cebit technology fair in Hanover, Germany.

Large-scale trials of TV on mobile handsets are already happening across the world as phone firms try to find out if consumers want to watch programmes on the go.

'No time to lose'

Despite these trials Ms Reding declared herself "disappointed" with the progress the industry was making towards standardising the technology underpinning mobile TV.

"The industry should agree on one standard," she said. "I think there's no more time to lose here.

"In the end I could mandate the standard but I do not want to do that," she added.

Last year the EC helped to set up the European Mobile Broadcasting Council (EMBC), which brought together everyone who had an interest in mobile TV, in an attempt to get stakeholders talking and working towards a unified technology.

Ms Reding said a good candidate for this single technology was the DVB-H standard that was developed with almost 40m euros ($53m, 27m) of EC research cash.

She said the fact that DVB-H was already in use in 17 EU nations and that it was an open standard should recommend it to the EMBC members.

The commissioner imposed a deadline of summer 2007 on the mobile TV industry to agree on a standard.

By that time Ms Reding said she had to issue a communication on mobile TV strategy and would prefer to do that with the decision on technology and standards settled.

"I hope they agree because I would really not like to intervene with regulatory measures," she said.

European mobile TV standards have a lot in common with the GSM technology developed for mobile phones that now dominate across the world.

"In this case, the EU has a chance to become a global player just as it did with the GSM success story," said Ms Reding.

Mobile makers show off new devices at Cebit

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