The potential of a new technology called direct-to-mobile (D2M), which would let mobile users view live TV channels on their cellphones without an internet connection, is being investigated by the Indian government. According to sources, the details are being worked on by the Department of Telecommunications (DoT), Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB), and IIT-Kanpur.
IIT-Kanpur published a white paper on D2M broadcasting on June 1 of last year in association with Prasar Bharti and the Telecommunications Development Society of India. D2M was described in that white paper as a component of NextGen Broadcast (NGB), which combines many existing technologies to produce the best results possible.
With more than 800 million mobile users in the nation, the government wants to employ this technology to offer content, particularly for emergency alerts and educational purposes.
Telecom companies, however, might be against the idea because it might have an effect on their data revenue and business strategies.
What is Direct-to-Mobile (D2M) technology?
D2M works on a similar principle to an FM radio in that it has a receiver that can pick up many radio frequencies. This cutting-edge technology, which combines broadband and broadcast, makes use of mobile devices to collect local digital TV signals. Without accessing the internet, multimedia content, such as live TV games, can be broadcast directly to phones via D2M.
“It is the first technology of its sort in the world, and it is an indigenous ‘Made in India’ technology. The transport of content, notably video content, will undergo a transformation thanks to D2M. Today’s consumers watch movies on their phones; the majority of goods are consumed on mobile devices. Thanks to D2M technology, customers will be able to access video content without paying for data plans, according to Parag Naik, CEO of Saankhya Labs, in an interview with Prachar Bharati News Services.
It is planned for the band 526-582 MHz to cooperate with broadcast and mobile services. Speaking at a conference hosted by IIT Kanpur, K Rajaraman, Secretary, DoT, stated that “DoT has established a committee to study this band.”
At the moment, Prasar Bharati (DD) or Terrestrial TV Broadcasting use the frequency range 526-582 MHz. There are lots of analog, digital-ready, and digital terrestrial TV transmitters using this band.
Need for this technology?
In India, content consumption on smartphones is increasingly replacing TVs as the main source of new mobile data. It is therefore essential to equip mobile phones with direct broadcasting capabilities.
According to a study by IIT-Kanpur, smartphones with broadcast capabilities would be able to stream numerous high-quality video and audio services, making the most use of precious spectrum and reducing the strain on cellular networks.
Additionally, with the increased usage of cellphones, the spread of viral content and fake news has presented a range of problems for governments at all levels. The country saw the value of broadcast media and the unreliability and prejudice of the Internet media during the COVID-19 lockdown, crises of national importance, and other events of natural disasters.
D2M can be utilised on a mass scale?
Direct broadcasting to millions of smartphones and smart gadgets will be a crucial strategic capability for the sake of the country. The IIT-Kanpur white paper offers a number of suggestions on how D2M might be used successfully on a large scale.
- Emergency alerts are transmitted directly, dependably, and independent of cellphone or internet networks.
- Direct, authentic, and targeted delivery of audio content for disaster management.
- In the event of catastrophic satellite failures, public content of strategic or national importance can be broadcast on terrestrial fallback.
- By consolidating Radio services into a single shared broadcast infrastructure, where both audio and video broadcasts may be watched through a single interface on smartphones or smart devices, valuable spectrum, land, manpower, and other public resources are preserved.
Telecom companies worry about losing D2M revenue
Customers could gain a lot from D2M technology if it enables them to watch live TV on their mobile devices without consuming data, similar to direct-to-home (DTH). Additionally, this would enable content creators to reach a larger audience.
Telecom companies are worried about losing money from video use despite these benefits. In addition, they worry about the possible damage to their 5G plans.
D2M technology is currently the subject of a DoT feasibility study. It’s currently in the planning phase. Getting all the necessary parties on board to launch D2M technology broadly, including the telecommunications industry, is the government’s largest obstacle.
The government must create a compelling offer for many stakeholders or implement policy changes for the technology to succeed.
The government must also overcome infrastructure obstacles in order to implement the technology widely. It won’t be simple to provide technology in every region of the nation.