Direct-to-mobile tech: DoT arm flags adoption hurdles – Industry News

The Telecommunication Engineering Centre (TEC) has flagged challenges that could crop up in the implementation of the direct-to-mobile (D2M) technology, which would pave the way for streaming television content directly to mobile phones, without an internet connection.

This comes amid strong opposition to the government’s proposal for the D2M by technology companies like Qualcomm, Samsung, Ericsson, Nokia as well as telecom operators.

TEC has said that the integration of smartphones that support D2M and digital terrestrial TV to mobile devices (DTT2M) technologies remains a big challenge.

In its second version of the technical report on the subject “direct broadcasting to mobile handheld devices”, TEC has pointed out that the implementation of D2M technology such as Advanced Television Systems Committee (ATSC) 3.0, also known as NextGen TV, might require a new nationwide network for indoor coverage for quality services, which would be complex.

Besides, its implementation would involve higher costs for smartphone makers and will increase the pricing of phones, some stakeholders said in their responses to consultation on the subject.

The DoT body also flagged challenges with regard to the availability of a handset ecosystem, scalability of D2M technology, business viability and opportunities and spectrum requirements. “There is consensus now that the success of these approaches relies on the ability to enable this service in mobile devices, more specifically, a smartphone or a tablet. The success of this adoption will further be constrained on how the ecosystem of devices will be created in open-market, low-cost smartphones,” TEC said in a report after consultations.

The DoT body, however, said a standard compatible with existing mobile handsets would be required for D2M technology, as it would offer cost-effectiveness and also leverage existing ecosystem support.

By an appropriate and compatible standard, TEC means a framework and protocol that will help in offloading broadcasting traffic over phones, and on the basis of which smartphones can be designed and manufactured to directly receive broadcast signals.

The government’s intention behind D2M technology is to explore convergence of broadcasting and broadband services. Through the technology, users can receive terrestrial digital TV content directly on their handsets. The concept is similar to FM radio on phones, wherein phones can tap into radio frequencies.

The technology can possibly be used to directly broadcast citizen-centric information such as issue of emergency alerts, public safety messages, social services, among other things. Using D2M, telcos can also offload traffic, especially video content, to broadcasting network, thereby reducing congestion, experts said.

As of today, no mobile devices are available for any of these broadcasting technologies or standards anywhere. In fact, countries like the USA, Brazil, Mexico and Canada among others are running trials for D2M technology.

During consultation over the subject, both telcos and technology companies flagged concerns on government’s approach to implement D2M in a hasty manner. The argument of the stakeholders was that since the technology is in early stages, it should not be mandated for devices to comply with that.

Telcos also flagged concern over potential loss of revenues from the data business, in case the mobile picks up signals from the D2M technology in use.

“The ability by which the D2M/DTT2M operator, based on the technology adopted develops the devices ecosystem and then broadcasts to the tens of millions of open market mobile devices will eventually define the success of D2M in India,” TEC said.


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