France to move ahead with mobile TV but questions remain

French TV channels have agreed to give transmission services provider TDF the role of multiplex operator for the country’s planned mobile broadcast TV service, known in France as Télévision Mobile Personelle (TMP), according to French financial daily Les Echos.

The network for the service will be deployed by TDF and operated commercially by Virgin Mobile, with a launch planned for autumn next year.

The success of the platform remains an open question in France. TDF is bearing the total financial burden of investing in the platform, and will recoup from Virgin Mobile on a per subscriber per month basis. TDF has said that the platform will have to win one million subscribers to pay back the investment, although Virgin Mobile currently has a total of only 1.7 million subscribers in France. The operator plans to market TMP as part of a bundled offer.

While it has been expected that the deployment will be based on DVB-H, Les Echos reports that TDF has been in discussion with Qualcomm over possible use of its FLO technology, and has also considered the Chinese CMMB standard as well as the hybrid DVB-SH technology.

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