Mobile television subscribers will reach 102m by the end of 2010, up from a current estimate of 3.4m, according to US research house In-Stat. The forecast is lower than recent predictions by rival research groups, though still suggests a rosy future for the new distribution channel.
Take-up will be driven by broadcast rather than cellular network technologies which have a much lower cost per bit for video delivery, says In-Stat’s report, Mobile TV Broadcasting Now Out of the Gate.
"The greatest challenge for mobile TV broadcast operators is to acquire the spectrum necessary to offer services," said Michelle Abraham, In-Stat analyst. "spectrum availability may determine which of four standards is chosen, and also impacts the business case for the deployment of a network."
Last week New York’s ABI Research said mobile television services would have more than half a billion subscribers around the world in 2011. Its report, Broadcast and Unicast Mobile TV Services, said the fledgling market for mobile TV would rise from around 6.4m subscribers at the end of 2005 to 514m in 2011.
Advertising-supported broadcast services will propel growth over the next few years, said ABI.
And earlier this month technology publisher Informa Telecoms & Media said mobile TV would experience significant growth over the next five years, after phone owners experimented with viewing over their handsets during the FIFA World Cup.
Its report forecast that around 210m mobile owners would be accessing streamed and broadcast TV services by 2011, with the Asia-Pacific region accounting for around 45% of subscribers, followed by Europe with about 33%. Take-up will initially be steady, and then be followed by rapid growth.