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SARFT Plans CMMB Coverage of 324 Cities by July 2008

China Business News, 1/02/08

A member of the CMMB working group has revealed that SARFT plans to provide CMMB coverage to over 324 cities by July 2008. He added that even frequency planning in those 324 cities has already been completed.

The 2nd round of CMMB equipment bidding for network construction in 35 cities, including transmitters, testing equipment, CMMB portable terminals, and other system support equipment, will start in January. Companies such as Lenovo Mobile, ZTE (0763.HK; 000063.SZ), Hunan Goke Technologies, and Beijing NeoNetech will participate in the bid. The deadline for completion in these 35 cities has also been extended from early February to March 21st, with authorities hoping that once the networks are completed, they can be put into operation immediately.

Jiang Wenbo, director of the Academy of Broadcasting Planning (ABP) revealed that CMMB-STAR, a satellite used specifically for CMMB, will be launched in Russia in June 2008.

However, some industry experts commented that although SARFT is targeting 324 cities, the provision of large-size transmitters in such a short period of time might be difficult, possibly preventing the completion of construction in all 324 cities.

Jiang also revealed that CMMB will provide TV programming in both basic packages and value-added packages, and will also offer some non-TV related services such as stock information, weather forecasts, and traffic information.

Another SARFT official revealed that, in the future, 4-5 channels of mobile TV programming will be provided to users nationwide. In addition, local mobile TV operators in some areas may provide 1-2 local TV channels for free, with all other content to be charged. Mobile TV operators may also provide value-added information publication services, such as sending out discount information, which may offer advertisers and wireless value-added service providers another choice beyond mobile network-based push ads.

When and where SARFT should cooperate with telecom operators has not yet been confirmed. Future cooperation may include developing VOD and billing services through mobile networks. However, in the short-term, SARFT will likely focus only on broadcasting-based CMMB, and may not be in a hurry to develop any services that require cooperation with the telecom operators.

Keywords: CMMB SARFT timetable strategy coverage supply contract bidding Lenovo Mobile ZTE 0763.HK 000063.SZ Goke Technologies NeoNetech mobile TV mobile phone TV Jiang Wenbo Academy of Broadcasting Planning CMMB-STAR satellite programming WVAS mobile information service mobile securities information mobile advertising WVAS SP SMS VOD mobile payment television wireless

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