#TBT: Mobile TV makes headway; nearly half of US tweens have cell phones; Industry debates mobile adult content guidelines … this week in 2005

Editor’s Note: RCR Wireless News goes all in for “Throwback Thursdays,” tapping into our archives to resuscitate the top headlines from the past. Fire up the time machine, put on the sepia-tinted shades, set the date for #TBT and enjoy the memories!

Mobile TV makes some headway

The buzz surrounding mobile TV continues to grow with three separate announcements this week. Nokia Corp. is leading a seven-company team working to launch a pilot effort to test mobile TV technology and consumer experiences in the Finnish capital of Helsinki. MTV, Digita, Elisa, Nelonen, Sonera and The Finnish Broadcasting Co. are collaborating for the service, which will provide real-time TV and radio programs to subscribers using a Nokia 7710 smart phone equipped to receive the broadcasts. Test users have access to programs from broadcasters including MTV, CNN, BBC World, Euronews, Eurosport, ViVa Plus and Fashion TV until the pilot concludes June 20. Elisa and Sonera are handling customer service for the trial, and Digita is providing the digital TV network. The service uses IP Datacasting (IPDC) technology, which conforms to the Digital Video Broadcasting for Handhelds standard. DVB-H was adopted by the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) last year as the standard for European mobile TV services. Meanwhile, France Telecom SA and French wireless carrier Bouygues SA said they hope to partner to bring mobile TV to a panel of 200 French subscribers. The companies will team with wireless telecommunications and satellite TV affiliates to bring a series of channels to selected customers via DVB-H technology. The offering, which is slated to debut in June, is pending regulatory approval. … Read more

Bell Canada partners with Clearwire

Canadian telecommunications provider Bell Canada reported an alliance with Craig McCaw’s U.S.-based wireless broadband network operation Clearwire Corp. The alliance includes a $100 million investment, as well as a further investment in McCaw’s NR Communications operations that currently provides wireless broadband services in parts of Canada. The alliance calls for Bell Canada to be Clearwire’s exclusive strategic partner for Voice over Internet Protocol and certain other value-added IP services and applications in the United States. Bell Canada also will become Clearwire’s preferred provider of IP-based services and applications in markets beyond North America. As part of the alliance, Bell Canada said it will invest $100 million in Clearwire with Bell Canada Chief Executive Officer Michael Sabia joining Clearwire’s board of directors. “Wireless broadband will be an increasingly important access technology in the next generation of telecommunications,” Sabia said. “In Craig McCaw and his Clearwire team, we are partnering with an innovator who has a proven track record for delivering wireless initiatives and is today a clear leader in wireless broadband. This alliance is a good opportunity for Bell Canada to develop our wireless broadband capabilities for our home market and leverage our VoIP expertise.” … Read more

Hustler Mobile plans US expansion, as industry debates mobile adult content guidelines

The wireless carrier trade association agreed to produce guidelines for managing wireless porn, even as porn giant Larry Flynt announced plans to enter the U.S. wireless market. CTIA said Tuesday it would add adult content guidelines to its voluntary carrier code of conduct by the second quarter with implementation by the end of the year. Thus far, the group has outlined voluntary policies for labeling content as either unrestricted or available only to consumers ages 18 or older. The guidelines also call for controls and age-verification mechanisms to block minors attempting to access restricted content, CTIA President Steve Largent said. “For much of the last year, CTIA … has spearheaded an industry-wide effort to understand and address the issues associated with content classification and restriction in the mobile wireless context,” Largent wrote in an open letter to John Muleta, chief of the Federal Communications Commission’s Wireless Telecommunications Bureau. “The current timeline aims for adoption of the guidelines and announcement of the industry-wide agreement in the second quarter of 2005, with implementation of the guidelines by the end of 2005.” The letter was in response to an FCC note commending the trade organization for its work in controlling adult content, but urging it to adopt set guidelines for wireless porn. That communication was sparked by a January RCR Wireless News story chronicling CTIA’s work to create a ratings system for content. Meanwhile, in California, Larry Flynt Publications Inc. said it will team with Giant Mobile Corp. to deliver racy content to cellular subscribers in North America and Asia. Hustler Mobile will offer adult-themed images, downloadable and streaming video, text messaging, gambling and puzzle games based on the Hustler publication. … Read more

Nokia gets into CDMA

IRVING, Texas-Nokia Corp. said it has demonstrated live Internet Protocol multimedia applications over a commercial CDMA2000 network. The announcement underlines Nokia’s commitment to CDMA technology. The vendor has been known mainly for its GSM offerings, and the company is not involved in the radio-access part of CDMA as yet. “Nokia is diligently making strides in our commitment to CDMA technology both in core infrastructure and devices,” said Tim Johnson, vice president of business development at Nokia Networks. … Read more

44% of US tweens have cell phones

NEW YORK-Nearly half of the nation’s 10- to 18-year-olds own mobile phones and a vast majority are interested in handsets that double as music players or cameras, according to a study from NOP World Technology. According to the survey-the fifth in a series of studies tracking the wireless habits of children in the top 25 U.S. markets-44 percent of teens and “tweens” own wireless devices. Forty percent of 12- to 14-year-olds carry phones, 13 percent more than in early 2002, and the largest increase in phone ownership was in teens between 15 and 17 years old, with 75 percent owning handsets, up 42 percent from 2002. Further, 71 percent of respondents said they were interested in phones that convert into music players, and 70 percent were interested in phones that double as digital cameras. “Teens and tweens are on the cutting edge of cell-phone technology and are no longer excited by typical single-function cell phones,” said Ben Rogers, vice president of NOP World. “Since kids tend to stick with the same provider, it is crucial for carriers to offer affordable multi-function phones, as this may sway selection even more than the service itself.” And while the United States may have been slow to embrace wireless services compared with some other markets, young U.S. mobile users now spend more on cell phone products and services than any other market in the world, according to a separate study by Wireless World Forum. … Read more

Firefly Mobile targets cell phones for kids

A startup company today released a mobile phone designed specifically for 8- to 12-year-old children. “Why aren’t parents buying cell phones (for their children)? They’re such practical tools,” said Fred Bullock, chief marketing officer for Firefly Mobile Inc., the company behind the new device. “It’s a huge untapped market.” The company’s new phone, dubbed the Firefly, replaces the standard 10-key layout with five buttons that can directly dial the child’s mom or dad, or 20 other pre-selected numbers. The tiny phone also features a button dedicated for 911 emergency calls. Parents will be able to control the use of the phone; for instance, they can ensure the phone will receive calls only from a select set of numbers. “It was also very important to make a phone that kids would like and want,” Bullock said. The phone is about twice the size of a cigarette lighter and weights 2 ounces. It also features a set of blinking lights and glowing keys. Firefly Mobile is selling the device with prepaid service through Triton PCS/Suncom and will soon sell it through Cincinnati Bell. … Read more

GAO shrugs off Lucent protest over Iraq contract award

WASHINGTON-The Government Accountability Office has rejected Lucent Technologies Inc.’s protest of a $50 million contract awarded to U.K.-based Sepura Ltd. to supply TETRA mobile units for an advanced first responder network throughout Iraq. Lucent last year won a $75 million contract to rebuild and modernize Iraq’s telecom infrastructure. GAO ruled Lucent was ineligible for the first-responder handset contract because the company was involved in helping set guidelines for the nationwide public-safety wireless network. Motorola Inc., which competed for the first-responder radio contract, challenged the U.S. Army’s selection of Sepura for the contract. Motorola later decided to withdraw the protest. The infrastructure contract for Iraq’s advanced first-responder network was awarded to an American company. “The GAO ruling is under review, and no Lucent decisions have been made at this time,” said spokeswoman Denise Panyik-Dale. Lucent could ask GAO to reconsider the decision, or the Murray Hill, N.J.-based firm could challenge the Sepura award before the U.S. Court of Federal Claims. … Read more

Check out the RCR Wireless News Archives for more stories from the past.

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