Telenor first to market with Mobile TV… way too expensive though

April 29, 2007 2:56 pm 22 comments

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This is interesting from a regulatory perspective. Telenor launched MobileTV today over EDGE/GPRS. Technically it is a WAP gateway that connects to a streaming server to stream content to a supported phone. The application seems to be a Java-based media player since it supports a range of phone platforms. With EDGE, you could expect 15fps at webcam quality for the type of phones that have to run this app.

MobileTV has been cited as what could be a killer app for the Pakistani masses, and by the looks of the premier TV Channels, Telenor is gunning straight for them, adding local channels and channels for youth up first.

The trouble is the obscene pricing structure, which can pretty much take out all the youth (who wouldn’t want to pay this much for MTV on the go).


Activation request SMS with ‘TV’ to ’888′ Rs. 2 + tax 
One time activation Fee Rs. 50 + tax 
Fee per month Rs. 399 + tax 
GPRS Charges Rs. 15/MB + tax 

Note: All prices are subjected to 15% GST. Standard GPRS download charges apply.

Add to this a fairly complex (half a page) instruction set for actually getting TV started, and the requirement of logging in with your username and password, and poof there goes the ability for the masses to actually use the product.

Formally, the “transaction costs of using the product far outweigh the benefit”.

I dont know why the technical people building the product dont focus on the user experience and user cost of action. How do you explain to someone who needs Khyber TV on the road how to login to a WAP server after some SMS exchanges all in english?

Next, the launch timing is just way off, launching the day after the World Cup finishes, which was probably going to be the single biggest use of the app for premier users.

Now all that said, I said this was interesting from a regulatory perspective. While the PTA regulates most value-added-services by telecos, they clearly define “voice transferred over analog or as bits in a digital signal” both as voice services.

Video, on the other hand, is regulated by PEMRA, and the big debate over the past few years has been for both the regulators to agree upon who will govern converged services involving video.

PEMRA regulates IPTV, and there is a chance they gave the nod to Telenor for MobileTV as well, even though the application is based on EDGE/GPRS which has to be approved by PTA.

The interesting bit is who will regulate and check whether the “playing field is level” for MobileTV as a value-added telecom service?

What about any additional functionality, such as the ability for Telenor to change channels on the service — doesn’t that qualify as a data-enabled service governed by PTA?

Somehow, somewhere Telenor got through the complexity, and I know a number of people who would like to know how.

Facebook comments:


  • d0ct0r

    Rs 400/month with unlimited GPRS/EDGE would have been a reasonable price or even 600/month with unlimited data service would have been digestable but Rs15/mb is totally ridiculous

  • To put this perspective, we’re talking about paying 15 rupees every 8 seconds that you watch TV on Mobile TV, assuming EDGE transfer rates of 128kbps and Rs.15 / mbit.

    For a 10 minute news bulletin, that comes out to be 30 + 400 + 1,125 = Rs.1,555!?

    Or Rs.570 if its Rs.15 / Mbyte… for 10 minutes.

  • I queried telenor for data packages. they have a 500 Rs line rent data package which give syou 150 MB bundled but still it is not feasible. Warid and mobilink have 500 Rs unlimited data packages

  • ROkr Tv also offers a free tv service without any local channels or premium content however I have tried it using my E70 and Wifi connection , video quality is not very good but keeps children entertained with the cartoons and some news channels , I have posted the inital detials at my blog @ will post the detailed review tonight

  • one more thing Telenor shows nokia E61 on their ad while the same model is in soon to be supported list :)

  • Junaid

    To Osama

    Rather then assuming EDGE transfer rates of 128kbs(EDGE transfer rates are in the 250kbps range btw but this is the theoretical speed and actual EDGE speed varies a lot). I am using the Mobile TV from Telenor and your assumption of 1000+ rs for 10 minutes of video is rather quite off the mark. From my testing a ten minute video consumes 2Mb. And since i have their data package it just costs me Rs 6 :). not a bad deal i say

  • Junaid: since when did anyone bank on theoretical speeds for solutions?

    1- Stable practical data rates for EDGE can be considered to a max of 128kbps — beyond that they are non-deterministic.

    2- I didn’t estimate EDGE rates, I estimated data transfer for video at QCIF with H.263 compression, since most of the supported handsets wouldn’t be able to decode H.264 at real-time.

    3- 2MB looks pretty good — it would be interesting to see what type of compression the vendors are doing there. For people without a data rate, that’s still Rs.30 per 10 minutes, or Rs.180 / hour.

    With the data rate its not bad, I agree.

    How is the quality?

  • Junaid


    I wrote 2MB per 10 minutes of video. So for an hour it should be 12MB. Now with my package of rs 3 per MB it comes to 36 Rs per MB. Which i think is good.

    Regarding the quality. Its amazing in EDGE areas and ok in GPRS areas.

    And i guess its a market skimming proposition so i guess we should not be complaining about the price. I guess down the line the price will come down further :)

  • Junaid

    My bad…i mean 36 Rs per hour

  • That’s what I said — its not bad with this special data rate of Rs3 / MB — but their advertised rate is Rs.15 / MB which makes it high.

  • Junaid

    I guess they have done the right think for the sake of the consumer for by advertising the correct rate as i don’t think the special GPRS packages are available for Prepaid customers. Again in terms of pricing Mobilink is still charging 1500 Rs per month for blackberry push email. So while evaluating this service must keep in mind that right now its not for the mass market :)

  • Muhammad Asif Razzaque

    As already stated, it sure is a market skimming proposition.

    If one observes, Telenor has been doing a lot of firsts. Seems like they are geared towards establishing Telenor as the “pioneer” telco brand and a “keep thinking whats next” masses attention seeker.

    I think some 2 years down the road the MoTV facility shall start trickling down to the economic segements taking the rates to competition. The time to cash on the rapidly converting customer base then would be Telenor’s claim of being the “first” and the “most tried & tested” service with its “brand ambassadors” interspersed in the customer base ofourse. Guess what will be happening then? Friend A goes to Friend B that has been a Telenor MoTV user and asks how is the experience. Friend B shall certainly endorse the service. Friend A comes home to Telenor!

    As they say, an early start always keeps you number one, at least in mass perception.

  • Muhammad Asif Razzaque

    The recent T-Mobile VidUP service for sharing user-origin videos! Telenor shall definitely market its service for a user-community based exchange of videos, pics, audio etc.

    This could give a whole new dimension to “Viral Marketing”. Viral marketing moves within communities and jump off to neighboring/friendly communities.

    This hold true especially for the teen/young adult segment.

  • Muhammad Asif Razzaque

    How would PEMRA come in to regulate the user-origin content. How would PTA distinguish its policies from PEMRA. That all remains to be seen.

    There shall definitely be new policies coming up the way of the carriers, service providers and users.

    Revealing is the fact that Pakistani authorities are mostly found struggling to cope up with the regulation of new services instead of staying ahead by keeping abreast of the new developments.

    This is a clear indication that these regulating bodies are not research oriented and have no road map to facilitate the intriduction of new technologies and their socio-econo impacts.

  • imtiaz


  • Sarmast Bilawal

    will it work on my imate jama…and how to activate that data package???

  • Tehmas Sheikh

    cany any1 telz me dat can i use dis application wid zonginternet?? as em avnt free net awn zong? n to use vich software for t.v??

  • Ahsan

    dude your zong internet actually works. You should thank your lucky starts, my experience is that cheap is always pathetic. And i dont think telenor’s TV would work on zong

  • oh its so precious due to its Gprs charges so much precious


  • This is a good service. Bit precious.

  • It is really a great and helpful piece of info.
    I’m satisfied that you simply shared this useful information with us. Please keep us up to date like this. Thank you for sharing.

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