Alcatel-Lucent, 3 Italia and RAI Join Forces for the First DVB-SH Mobile TV Trial in Italy

Friday, December 14th, 2007
Alcatel-Lucent logo

First DVB-SH Broadcast Mobile TV Trial in the World Blending Mobile and Broadcast Networks

PARIS and ROME — Alcatel-Lucent (Euronext Paris and NYSE: ALU), the mobile operator 3 Italia and Italian public broadcaster RAI are launching the first trial of Mobile TV based on the DVB-SH standard in Italy.

DVB-SH (Digital Video Broadcasting – Satellite services to Handhelds) is an evolution of DVB-H, which is providing higher spectrum efficiency and allows integration with hybrid satellite/terrestrial networks. The trial, based on Alcatel-Lucent’s Unlimited Mobile TV solution, uses for the first time in the world a multi-layer DVB-SH terrestrial network blending low-power transmitters from a mobile operator and medium-power transmitters from a broadcaster.

The trial will take place in Torino and it will be overseen by RAI Technological Strategies Dept., Raiway SpA and RAI Research and Technology Innovation Centre, providing their three-year-old experience in mobile-TV field tests. Cellular sites provided by 3 Italia will allow the indoor coverage of Torino’s downtown, while broadcast towers provided by RAI and Raiway will allow outdoor and vehicular coverage of the entire town of Torino.

Alcatel-Lucent will provide the DVB-SH equipment, the network planning, the network integration and the technical support required for the good execution of the trial. Alcatel-Lucent’s DVB-SH low-power repeaters will be co-localized with the live UMTS sites of 3 Italia and connected to the UMTS antennas.

The first phase of this trial, taking place from December 2007 to March 2008, will consist in a technology trial to validate the capability of DVB-SH to make available a large number of high-quality mobile TV channels, in various usage conditions. The several innovative technical characteristics of the DVB-SH will be evaluated during this trial, which in this first phase of the trial will be only terrestrial.

In a second phase of this trial, the broadcast signal from a satellite will be emulated by a transmitter located in a high-altitude helicopter; in order to study a real business situation, a sample panel of customers will be provided with commercial DVB-SH handsets. In a longer term perspective, tests with satellites in operation will be carried out in cooperation with a major satellite operator.

It is expected that this trial will allow demonstrating the improved reception quality made possible by the DVB-SH standard, thanks in particular to improved radio performances for mobile reception (such as the time interleaver and as the reception antenna diversity) related to the use of the S-Band, in particular for indoor and particularly critical outdoor reception environments.

Claudio Cappon, General Director of RAI, declared: “RAI, as part of its public service remit, is interested to deliver to the Italian audience high-quality mobile TV contents, based on various technologies. In this perspective, it is our responsibility to permanently investigate new technologies, such as DVB-SH, in order to optimize the cost-efficiency of our broadcast services distribution to a constantly growing audience.”

Olivier Coste, Chairman of Alcatel-Lucent’s mobile broadcast activities declared: “For the first time in the industry, a broadcast mobile TV trial will showcase a network capable to satisfy the service needs of both mobile operators and broadcasters, spanning indoor, outdoor and in-car mobile TV usage. We are particularly excited by this unique partnership with 3 Italia and RAI that will allow us to demonstrate the advantages for the Italian audience of Alcatel-Lucent’s Unlimited Mobile TV solution based on the DVB-SH standard.”

The S-Band spectrum (2.17-2.20 GHz) is available throughout Europe and can be used to deploy across the whole continent mobile satellite services such as Mobile TV. On February 14, 2007, the European Commission issued a Decision on the harmonized use of this spectrum at the EU level, and on August 22, 2007, the Commission adopted a proposal to select systems for mobile satellite services. If adopted by the European Parliament and the EU Council, this new selection mechanism will allow, from 2009, the deployment of innovative services such as Mobile TV based on DVB-SH.