EXCLUSIVE: Senior executives of Optus have admitted to ChannelNews that they are pursuing new mobile TV technology as a core revenue earner in the future, with the Company currently testing new Media Flo technology from Qualcomm. They have also admitted that the carrier will not be pursuing a relationship with Fetch TV.Fetch TV, who was banking on a relationship with Optus to launch its new service in Australia, is currently talking to several smaller ISPs, including iiNet and iPrimus.
If Optus adopts the new Qualcomm Media Flo TV technology, it will be able to stream video and Live TV content to mobile phones, netbooks commercial signage and a host of other applications.
A senior Optus source said, “We are currently reviewing several options for the delivery of content to mobile phones. We have looked at several opportunities and technology platforms and while the new Qualcomm Media Flo offering looks promising it is going to be dependent on what spectrum are made available in Australia.”
In recent months Fetch TV, which is owned by Malaysian media investor T. Ananda Krishnan, has established an operation in Australia with the hope of delivering content to carriers, media centre developers and set-top box manufacturers.
In recent weeks, Fetch TV has met with several content providers, including the Ten Network, in an effort to secure the rights to content. The service, which will compete head-on with the new Telstra TBox offering, is designed around content being delivered over an IP Network.
Among the providers believed to have cut a deal with Fetch TV is the ABC, who is expected to provide access to its on-demand content.
Last week Japan’s Ministry of Internal Affairs & Communications chose Qualcomm’s MediaFLO technology as one of two official technologies for Japan’s nationwide mobile multimedia service, which is set to be rolled out in 2011 when spectrum is made available.
Currently the Federal Department of Broadband and Communications is assessing the Qualcomm technology for use in Australia.
Advances in wireless and battery technology and the development of new content services for mobile TV devices will help vendors tap into new technology and markets, says Neville Meijers, senior vice president and general manager of FLO International.
He said that the MediaFLO platform offers a rich user experience, high channel capacity and an open services layer to support a wide range of mobile broadcast services, making it an ideal platform to complement 3G services.
Trials of the new service in Japan are being watched by Australian authorities who believe that the new service could become a reality late in 2011 or 2013 following extensive trials in Australia.
Last year, the MIC in Japan approved two MediaFLO mobile TV trials in the VHF and UHF spectrum bands.
Fech TV executives could not be contacted for a comment.