Network 3 follows Asian trend

MILAN — The Italian branch of cell phone network 3 has stolen a march on rivals by introducing free mobile TV.

Italia 3 users are now offered free terrestrial coverage from Mediaset and RAI, plus Al Gore’s green channel Current TV. Italia 3 is even launching its own network, La3.

Its mobile customers will be the first outside of Japan and South Korea to get free TV.

Observers note that 3′s parent company Hutchison Telecom is based in Hong Kong and therefore aware of the latest consumer trends emerging from the Far East.

For Euros 2 ($3.09) a week, Italia 3 customers can also watch Sky Sport Mobile, Sky Cinema Mobile and Sky Tg 24 on their cell phones.

Italy has emerged as one of Europe’s leading markets for mobile TV, with Italia 3 the number one player.

Vodafone and Telecom Italia Mobile have also begun investing in this area, however, in which TV is beamed to handsets using the technology known as DVB-H.

Analysts at Datamonitor predict that by the end of this decade, mobile TV services will generate $5.5 billion in subscription revenues.

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