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Smart Communications has no choice but to keep its mobile TV service free until it gets a nod from the National Telecommunications Commission, a spokesperson said Friday.

NTC Deputy Commissioner Jorge Sarmiento confirmed Smart's statement.

In a telephone interview, Sarmiento said that the NTC has yet to set regulatory guidelines for mobile TV.

Ramon Isberto, public affairs head of Smart Communications, said in a separate interview that "we're still waiting for an NTC license for Mediaquest."

Mediaquest is the company behind 360Media, which will offer the mobile TV service through Smart. Mediaquest currently has a broadcast franchise that allows the company to provide direct-to-home broadcast service.

Isberto explained that Mediaquest might need a provisional authority from NTC to offer mobile TV service through its subsidiary 360Media.

Smart and 360Media launched the non-commercial mobile TV service in July 2007.

Subscribers to this service are required to buy a handset that supports DVB-H, a mobile television standard.

Asked how many users are currently subscribed to its mobile TV service, Isberto declined to give details.

He hinted however that 360Media and Smart are currently tracking consumer usage patterns.

"To those keenly observing media and the consumer behavior won't be surprised with our findings," Isberto said.

"The deployment of mobile TV"
services will offer new business opportunities for companies across the value chain, including content and broadcast companies, mobile service providers, infrastructure and handset manufacturers, and technology providers. DVB-H technology offers high-service level quality, low battery consumption, and offers the end-user the ability to simultaneously receive broadcasts while using other mobile services such as telephony and internet access on their device.

"Within DVB-H technology, Samsung has already commercialised handsets based on the CBMS OSF standard and will develop the OMA BCAST standard based mobile TV handset. Its inclusion in our product portfolios will enhance our customers' flexibility in choosing suitable standards based on their business models," says Kwang Suk Hyun, senior vice president, alliance team, Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd.

"Nokia warmly welcomes the collaboration in accelerating the adoption of DVB-H-based mobile TV services to the market. We see that the OMA BCAST standard is essential in launching mobile TV services on a global scale," says Harri Männistö, director, multimedia, Nokia. "Further, the well-defined service and content protection profiles within the OMA BCAST standard such as the already now available OMA DRM, provides the ideal path towards standardised solutions enabling a coherent and open market for successful worldwide mobile TV deployments."

In parallel to supporting mobile operators launching mobile TV services based on existing technologies in their networks, Samsung and Nokia are both active in ongoing standardisation and technology development to optimise the broadcast mobile TV experience. The companies will work on interoperability efforts using the open OMA standard while continuing to participate in industry-wide interoperability efforts within the related standardisation bodies.

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