At the end of 2005 there were just 6.4 million subscribers of mobile TV services, but ABI Research said the number could swell to approximately 514 million subscribers worldwide by the end of 2011.
The fledgling market for mobile TV is beginning to build significant momentum, according to the ABI report, Broadcast and Unicast Mobile TV Services, and advertising-supported broadcast services should propel additional growth.
"Broadcast will be the preferred method of access to mobile video for most people," said ABI Principal Analyst Ken Hyers. "Unicast will remain part of the mix, for customers who want to access video-on-demand, but ABI Research believes that the majority of subscription services will be for broadcast content, and that unicast-only subscriptions will not be a significant part of the market."
ABI said South Korea and Japan are early adopters, but Europe and North America are not far behind, with three mobile video broadcast services planned for U.S. introduction in the next 12 to 18 months. MediaFLO (Qualcomm) plans to launch services in the fourth quarter of 2006. Hiwire (Aloha Partners) and Modeo (Crown Castle) will launch in 2007.
"Most markets will not be able to support more than two broadcast networks due to the high cost of building them, and the fact that most markets only have three or four major mobile operators selling wireless services to subscribers," Hyers said.
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