Vodafone launches Mobile TV - What's New?
Vodafone launches Mobile TV
01 December 2006
Reported by Albert Malik
Nearly a year after Mobile TV was introduced by Vodafone subsidiaries in Europe in the conglomerate's so-called 'global launch' (and nearly two years after Vodafone Germany's introduction of the technology), Vodafone Australia has finally caught up with its sister companies in offering a Mobile TV service.
While Vodafone has been trialling streamed TV for free over the live! portal since mid October, yesterday the network carrier silently launched its expanded TV service. It started by offering 20 channels that cover the genres of news, sport, music, entertainment and lifestyle.
Two main packages are being offered. The first, 'News & Sport', offers all the Sky News streams currently available in the Foxtel Digital Sky News Active service - Sky Headlines, Sky Top Stories, Sky Sport, Sky Showbiz, Sky Business News, Sky Weather Channel and Sky UK - as well as the existing Sky News summary loop. But sadly, the main Sky News Australia Foxtel channel isn't part of the package. However, Vodafone has also thrown in a live BBC World channel, as well as the British sourced Chilli TV sports channel and UEFA Champion's League channel, which shows highlights of European soccer. The eleven channels are available for a total of $8 a month.
The second package is called 'Music & Entertainment' and consists of four channels - MTV, E! Entertainment, Rage and VidZone TV. MTV and E! Entertainment aren't the live Foxtel channels - they're actually 'made for mobile' channels with repeated streams of content sourced from the live ones. Rage and VidZone TV are also 'made for mobile', offering several music videos of contemporary popular music before looping after a certain amount of time. This package also costs $8 a month.
Apart from packaged channels, Vodafone offers three more channels under the 'Family & Lifestyle' category for $4 each. These are ABC Kids, Fashion TV and Mythbusters.
However, unique to Vodafone's service is the inclusion of the ABC and SBS channels. Showing the same content in real time (minus a 10 second delay) as their free-to-air television counterparts, the two channels are available for free and are offered separately to the other 18 channels.
The new Mobile TV service is available now from Vodafone live! branded handsets with 3G UMTS network support. As long as your phone supports 3G, you don't need to buy a new handset to watch the channels, but it does need to be inside 3G coverage to access them. Such coverage is currently available in Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra, Brisbane, the Gold Coast, Adelaide and Perth.
Competitors Three and Telstra already run their own mobile TV services on their 3G networks. Telstra, which recently launched its Next G network with HSDPA download speeds last month, offers a 'Foxtel by Mobile' service with 12 channels for $12 a month.