Aksh Optifibre has announced a partnership with MTNL to launch Mobile TV services in Delhi and Mumbai. These services will essentially be delivered over 3G networks. Remember that there are two ways for mobile devices (whether handsets, TV sets in cars etc) to receive TV content – via the mobile operator or as a terrestrial, satellite or hybrid broadcast. Aksh’s deal is essentially for content delivery over the mobile network.
Aksh will offer high quality MPEG 4 content at high resolution. They’ve already got content from DD, Neo Sports, CNN and NDTV, and plan to also include music channels. While the consultation process for Mobile TV is over, the policy is yet to be announced. We believe the battle over Mobile TV has not yet begun, and it will take at least six months, if not over a year for the policy to be finalized.
MTNL already provides quite a few channels over the 2.75 G networks, powered by Hyderabad based Apalya Technologies (now rebranded as MiMobi.tv). The Apalya powered service includes channels like Zoom, Times Now, Aaj Tak, NDTV 24×7, NDTV India, Bindass, NDTV Profit, Headlines Today, CNN, BBC World, FTV, India TV, among others. So happens to Apalya’s service, now that Aksh is launching the same? Is MTNL taking the franchise route to Mobile TV?
Aksh already has franchise agreements with MTNL for IPTV (iControl) and Voice Over Internet Protocol (Pigeon) with MTNL, but these are landline based services. Smart Broadband (HFCL), IOL Netcom and Time Broadband are other IPTV service providers with franchise agreements with MTNL and BSNL.
I don’t agree with the idea of having franchise deals for content services from a single operator – it leads to a lack of standardisation in what the telco is marketing as its own service.