Saturday, November 18, 2006

What does x-series mean for Mobile TV?

There was a rumour a few days ago about Three being up for sale which seems to have been scotched by this announcement. Three is first-mover with a consumer mobile broadband offering called x-series with a flat monthly fee. Services include Skype (although Carlo points out that it's not *actually* Skype on your phone), instant messaging (I wonder how they'll manage mass 'always on' as I understand the network capacity can't cope if too many are online all at the same time - perhaps someone technical can clarify that for me?), your PC where you are using Orb (although you can use Soonr or whatever if you have broadband) and viewing your home television wherever you are by incorporating slingbox. It sounds kinda like T-Mobile's web and walk product (which I use happily as it alleviates billshock) except that in the small print fair usage currently excludes VOIP and TV.

So what's the impact for Mobile TV then? There's lots of talk in the industry that 'made for mobile' is important due to the size of the screen, technology limitations, context of usage etc. However if streaming your home TV (sky, NTL, freeview or whatever) via slingbox is a 'good enough' experience that could negate the need for mobile TV per se as customers will have enough choice - certainly in the short term, and it doesn't cost them any extra assuming they're on an x-series account and they have already forked out for or don't mind forking out for a fancy slingbox.