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OFCA's response to complaints against TVB and ATV allegedly providing mobile television services without licences

     In response to media enquiries on the complaints against Television Broadcasts Limited (TVB) and Asia Television Limited (ATV) allegedly providing mobile television services (Mobile TV services) without licences, the spokesman for the Office of the Communications Authority (OFCA) said today (March 17):

     "In 2007, the former Telecommunications Authority (TA) approved the adoption of the Digital Terrestrial Multimedia Broadcasting (DTMB) standard by the two free TV broadcasters to provide digital terrestrial television services (DTT). The technical parameter (i.e. 64QAM modulation parameter) selected by the two broadcasters was only applicable to fixed reception. The selection of 64QAM could increase the data transmission rate of DTT programmes for reception at specified premises (such as domestic premises). The former TA accordingly amended the fixed carrier licences issued to the two free TV broadcasters under the Telecommunications Ordinance (Cap. 106) to enable them to provide DTT services. According to the licence conditions, the two broadcasters are not permitted to provide Mobile TV Services.  

     Mobile TV Services are provided for reception at moving locations. Since the launch of DTT service, there is no evidence showing that at the same time the two free TV broadcasters provide any Mobile TV Services. The technical parameter they have selected at 64QAM is applicable only to fixed reception.  Notwithstanding that the wide coverage of the DTT signals of the two broadcasters over the majority of areas in the territory may lead to possible reception of these signals by portable devices, this does not constitute any evidence to prove that the two free TV broadcasters are providing any Mobile TV Services. Viewers are not able to receive the concerned television services smoothly while they are on the move (e.g. when travelling in moving vehicles or when they are walking).

     OFCA notes that reporters of TVB have tried to receive its DTT programmes by using DTMB portable devices earlier and the DTT service showed pixelated images or even experienced service suspension when the viewers are in moving vehicles or walking, due to problems such as driving speed or reception being obstructed by buildings.

     At present, members of the public using their mobile phones or portable devices are able to receive TVB's iNews, 24-hour news channel and myTV which are transmitted over the Internet and provided via the platforms of mobile network operators. Such services are exempted from the licensing requirements under the Broadcasting Ordinance (Cap. 562)."

Ends/Monday, March 17, 2014
Issued at HKT 22:10


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