BT Closes Movio

Due to poor take-up of the service BT are closing down their mobileTV offering BT-Movio  less than a year after it was launched, and is due to stop broadcasting at the start of next year.
The only customer for BT Movio was Virgin Mobile who had only released one handset, the Lobster. However, despite heavy marketing featuring pin-up Pamela Anderson costing £2.5m sales were poor.

A spokesman for Virgin said there were 24,000 of the DAB-IP enabled handsets in use – manufactured by HTC – with only 6,000 of these using the mobile TV service.

"BT can confirm that following a review of its wholesale solutions, the decision has been made not to continue with the Movio service," a statement from the company said on Thursday.

"BT is discussing the timescale for the closure of the service with Virgin Mobile. While the feedback from users on the service has been complimentary, Movio sales have been slower than originally expected mainly due to a lack of compatible devices from the big brands. This in turn has been caused by the fragmented nature of the mobile TV market and hesitancy on the part of the main network operators as they seek to fill their own largely under-utilised 3G networks."

The final nail in the coffin for the DAB-IP based Movio was the recent backing of DVB-H by the European Commission. Although ‘Digital Video Broadcasting – Handheld’ could offer more channels the spectrum availability was on shaky ground until last week when the EC said it would force member states to adopt the standard.

BT will review market conditions for a DVB-H service periodically in the future but we would expect the technology and spectrum situation to be different.

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