Mobile networks test handset-based TV service

We're hearing a lot about the amount of data being used over our mobile phone networks right now, hence the decision(s) to end unlimited offerings, especially when it comes to the new iPhone 4. But despite this, O2, Orange, and Vodafone have teamed up to test a TV broadcast service for mobile phones.

According to The Guardian, the technology being tested which would theoretically enable the networks to provide broadcast TV over their existing 3G mobile phone spectrum, without clogging up their networks. A trial is currently taking place in west London and Slough, which will hopefully prove this very point.

It uses integrated mobile broadcast (IMB) technology, which itself uses part of the airwaves the networks picked up during the sale of 3G spectrum, but never actually used. It is also described as 'unpaired', unable to be used for calls. Hence the lack of impact on your data service.

'With the strong growth of data traffic on our 3G networks and the mobile industry's recent support of this high performance broadcast technology, the time is right to move forward with an IMB initiative,' said Luke Ibbetson, head of technology research and development at Vodafone Group. 'By joining our peers in this UK pilot, we expect to be able to explore the potential of delivering broadcast services across available 3G spectrum.'

The three-month trial is likely to be followed by much number crunching of the results. Which means a full service is unlikely to be rolled out until at least 2011.

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