Chris Evans' Ginger Media Group is collaborating with Ericsson in early trials of wireless technology that will enable radio broadcasts to be sent to mobile phones and handheld computers.
These third generation products will be commercially available within the next two years and will enable consumers to simultaneously surf the Internet, send and receive video material, watch interactive TV, play games, choose entertainment sources and carry out video conferences.
Ginger wants to be at the front of the pack when these wireless gadgets arrive, enabling it to broadcast on a global basis.
"Third generation mobile networks will transform the landscape of the radio industry and provide the stimulus for global consolidation into entertainment groups," said Lee Roberts of Ginger Media. "We can foresee a day when more people around the world will listen to us via a mobile terminal than via a broadcast radio receiver."
"It offers exciting possibilities for global branding, and will allow us to extend our reach far beyond the geographical limits of our UK broadcast license," added Roberts.
Ericsson has added Virgin Radio material to its range of services being trialled at its third generation (3G) network test bed here in the UK. The test network is built on a standard called UMTS (Universal Mobile Telecommunications System).
"Radio over UMTS is an exciting new service concept, and is expected to be one of the many services people will access over their 3G terminals," said Richard Carter, UMTS Sales and Marketing, Director of Ericsson. "For operators, it's an attractive service only requiring a small proportion of the bandwidth available."
Listeners can select bandwidth for the quality they want to match their audio equipment and budget. So, a hi-fi enthusiast could choose the highest bandwidth to get the best quality, added Carter.
Ginger Media already has a presence on the Internet. Over 350,000 people a month listen to Virgin Radio on the Internet.
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