The National Communications Commission (NCC) yesterday said it might stop issuing operational licenses for mobile TV.
Commission spokesperson Chen Jeng-chang (陳正倉) said the NCC had briefed the Executive Yuan about the possibility of freezing the issuing of mobile TV licenses, adding that the commission believed the market for mobile TV was still in its initial stage and that a profitable business model had yet to emerge.
“The government cannot dig a hole and let operators jump in. We have to wait for a better time [to give out licenses],” Chen said.
Tsai Ping-huang (蔡炳煌), director of the commission’s Department of Planning, said that mobile TV services also had to compete with those on mobile phones and tablet PCs.
“They [mobile phones and tablet PCs] can be easily upgraded to provide a similar service that is more accessible to users,” Tsai said.
A commission source said it had taken a more cautious attitude after it issued six licenses for the Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access (WiMAX) service three years ago, none which have been profitable.
The Ministry of Transportation and Communications, which oversees the use of frequencies, had originally planned to issue two licenses for mobile TV services by the end of last year.
However, media operators say mobile TV services should be regulated by the Television and Broadcasting Act (廣播電視法) rather than the Telecommunications Act (電信法), as the former would give the commission more latitude in regulating content, they said.
Facing the dilemma, the ministry has stopped issuing licenses for the time being.
Chen also said the NCC may also propose postponing the release of a second package of licenses for terrestrial TV services, as the current terrestrial TV networks have not been using the channels efficiently.
NCC statistics show that many of the networks’ digital channels have high rerun rates. The China Television News Channel, for example, has a rerun rate of 93 percent, while that of its Entertainment Channel is 97.6 percent.
The entire programming on DIMO TV, the Public Television Service’s (PTS) digital channel, consists of programs already aired on PTS.