“Global mobile TV adoption is being led by consumers in developing markets with mobile TV typically offered as a free feature in low-cost and mid-tier handsets,” says ThL Mobile, which opened offices in SA in 2009 and has other offices in China and the UK.
The Mi-TV has been released worldwide through Internet sales and through stores in some countries. The mobile nature of SA's community and the fact that subscription is free may aid in the popularity of phones like these.
Director of ThL Mobile, Corne Uys, says “the infrastructure is already in place, there are no new standards that need to be enacted and the service is free to consumers.”
He adds that consumers simply have to get a standard TV licence unless they already have one for their household.The question of the upcoming digital migration comes into play, but Uys says, “It will still be a few years before analogue is obsolete in SA,” and so consumers have some time before they have to make the move to digital.
To accommodate for the digital migration, ThL Mobile will market a Digital Video Broadcast Handset (DVB-H) from next year. One of their DVB models will also allow consumers to watch DSTV. “This will be launched once the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) has sorted the relevant licensing issues with the networks and DSTV,” says Uys.
MultiChoice and M-Net are also conducting DVB-H trials under a test licence from ICASA, says DSTV Mobile.
Uys says there are three advantages to having a dual SIM card mode. “A local user can have two SIM cards active simultaneously, either one for business and one for personal, or two SIM cards from different networks taking advantage of tariff differences. A visitor to SA can have their SIM card and a local SIM card, same for South Africans visiting abroad,” explains Uys.
ThL's Mi-TV is available for purchase from Edgars, Jet and CNA at a retail price of R1999 including VAT.
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