Wednesday, June 21, 2006

ABI Research: More Than Half a Billion Mobile TV Subscribers by 2011 | Press Release | ABI Research

Today is wild analyst predictions day regarding the potential for Mobile TV. After In-Stat predicted the number of subscribers would leap to 102 million by 2010, ABI Research came out with an even huger number, forecasting that "in 2011, mobile TV services will have some 514 million subscribers worldwide, up from only 6.4 million at the end of 2005." The firm beleives that "the fledgling market for mobile television is beginning to build significant momentum, and advertising-supported broadcast services are expected to propel additional growth over the next few years."

Ken Hyers at ABI Research said, "Broadcast will be the preferred method of access to mobile video for most people. Unicast will remain part of the mix, for customers who want to access video-on-demand, but ABI Research believes that the majority of subscription services will be for broadcast content, and that unicast-only subscriptions will not be a significant part of the market."

According to ABI Research, "South Korea and Japan are the early adopters, but European and North American markets are not far behind, with three contenders planning to introduce mobile video broadcast services in the United States over the next 12 to 18 months. MediaFLO (Qualcomm (QCOM)) plans to be first off the mark, having announced its intention to launch services in the fourth quarter of 2006; Hiwire (Aloha Partners) and Modeo (Crown Castle) will follow suit in 2007."

Hyers cautioned, "Most markets will not be able to support more than two broadcast networks due to the high cost of building them, and the fact that most markets only have three or four major mobile operators selling wireless services to subscribers."

ABI Research thought "the most critical factor will be commitment from mobile operators. Hyers said, "MediaFLO has been built for this purpose from the ground up, and will almost certainly be among the winners in the US. Verizon Wireless has already committed to it. Modeo and Hiwire are competing for the business of just three major operators, and one of them will fail. Each has strengths and weaknesses. Modeo plans to be faster to market, and if it signs a major operator quickly, its battle is half won. On the other hand, in Hiwire's favor is its large (12 MHz) and valuable swath of spectrum with more favorable characteristics than Modeo's."

OK, odds are that In-Stat and/or ABI Research will be dreadfully wrong by the time 2011 rolls along with In-Stat predicting 102 mobile TV subscribers by 2010 and ABI forecasting more than a half a billion by 2011. There is a possibility both could be spot on if the "100 million subscribers in 2010" suddenly increases by more than 400 percent in the year 2011. Yeah, that's the ticket....