Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has released its recommendations on mobile TV services in India. The recommendations make it easier for telecom operators to use their existing networks to offer mobile TV services, while broadcasters will have to bid for a mobile TV licence in order to use the broadcast technology.
The TRAI proposes the use of both terrestrial broadcast technology (similar to that used by private FM stations) and satellite technology (such as that used to provide DTH services) for mobile TV. The technology must be digital and it will be left to the operator to decide which to use. There will be separate licences for both types of technology, but the mobile TV service provider will have to choose any one on successfully bidding for it.
Mobile TV service providers can share the infrastructure of Doordarshan, the state broadcaster, for this purpose, but they will have to similarly share their own infrastructure with other providers.
Telecom operators currently providing mobile TV services on their own networks do not need a separate licence, but they will have to apply for one if they want to use the broadcast spectrum.
The licensing system proposed by the TRAI is similar to the one used for private FM stations and an FDI limit of 74 per cent is recommended. While the broadcast system licence can be bought for a particular area, the satellite system can be used to provide mobile TV services for the entire country.
The TRAI has also proposed that no broadcast company should hold more than 20 per cent stake in a company providing mobile TV services and vice versa. However, this does not apply to similar stakes between mobile TV providers and DTH or cable operators.