Mobile operators risk killing the promise of television on high-speed 3G mobile networks by creating unattractive billing plans, Current Analysis has warned in a new study.
Television on mobile phones is expected to be the big revenue spinner for mobile operators in 2006, according to Bena Roberts, a wireless analyst at Current Analysis.
Mobile TV is ready for mainstream adoption now that high-speed 3G data networks are more commonly available and because handset manufacturers have developed large-screen devices.
The services offer interactive media and entertainment on the move, as well as a way for users to "show off".
"The user experience is secondary to the fashion statement of having TV on the mobile device," noted Roberts.
But few operators currently offer subscription models that will attract users in the long term, the analyst warned.
Consumers tend to shy away from monthly subscription plans on top of existing fees because of the charges. Pay-as-you-go plans, on the other hand, make users fear their bill at the end of the month.
Most operators currently offer a mobile TV service as a free trial until early next year. In the UK Vodafone and 3 offer a plan at £5 a month. An alternative to the monthly flat-fee subscription is a charge based on the time a user is connected to the service.
A better option, according to Roberts, is to bundle mobile TV with 3G subscription plans. "This way, users simply 'get' free mobile TV," she explained.
Orange France is currently the only provider offering such bundles through its 'Intense' offerings. Subscribers to Intense get access to one hour of TV a month during off-peak hours such as evenings and weekends.
"This bundled offer is the strongest for fuelling the demand and use of mobile TV," said Roberts.
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