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The mobile TV standard DVB-H is being tested by ICO Global Communications and WiMAX provider Clearwire, reports RCR News.

The trial, which is set to begin early next year in Raleigh, N.C., will test the mobile video broadcast system and examine the feasibility of using Clearwire’s 2.5 GHz spectrum and ICO’s 2 GHz spectrum more efficiently.

ICO is also planning a similar trial in Las Vegas, where MediaFLO USA (Qualcomm’s proprietary mobile television system) and HiWire (using DVB-H at 700MHz), first launched their trials. ICO plans to integrate its mobile interactive media services with Clearwire’s mobile broadband network.

ICO is a next-generation MSS (Mobile Satellite Service) operator. Unlike Low Earth Orbit Iridium and
Globalstar satellite phones, which tend to be large and expensive, these new entrants are building huge geosynchronous satellites, along with a nationwide network of hybrid repeaters, that allows satphones to be small and cheap.

The repeaters are similar to those used by satellite radio — except they’re two-way.

ICO and Terrestar are the two competitors left standing for FCC mobile satellite licenses. They will offer ubiquitous satellite and terrestrial wireless service throughout the United States, using 20 MHz (each).

“Our next-generation wireless personal broadband networks are built to deliver data, voice and video over a single network,” said Scott Richardson, chief strategy officer for Clearwire. “Working with ICO to trial an interactive mobile video element that can potentially enhance our service offering not only in areas where we don’t intend to build our own network, but that can also potentially enhance the use of infrastructure and spectrum where our coverage overlaps, makes a lot of sense.”

More precisely, ICO is testing DVB-SH, a variant which is able to deliver IP based media content and data to handheld terminals like mobile phones and PDAs via satellite. For the trial, ICO, with help from Alcatel-Lucent and Hughes Network Systems, will provide multiple channels of high-quality mobile video to large-screen user devices.

ICO is a Craig McCaw party so it might come as no surprise that they’d partner with Clearwire. A mobile tv component is a requirement these days, and Qualcomm is closely allied with the “enemy”. DVB-H may also have a broader global reach. ICO claims their GEO satellite will be ready to launch in January 2008 and operational by February 15, 2008.

Meanwhile Terrestar is deploying an Internet-HSPA solution for accessing the TerreStar all-IP network. Terrestar says they could launch a bird by September 2008, with service in 2009.

The tricky bit for both these MSS operators is building thousands of Ancillary Terrestrial Component towers all across the United States. That’s where partnerships could be vital.

Meanwhile, spotbeams (above), will provide satphone service to the geo platform, a big improvement over VSAT terminals which were previously required to reach geosynchronous space.

Related DailyWireless satellite phone articles include; TerreStar: I-HSPA for Satphones, TerreStar to FCC: Almost Done, Sprint Beams Up with MSV, Clearwire & SatTV Do a Deal, TerreStar Gets a Slot, Satellite Repeaters – Grounded In Reality?, Intelsat Sold, Globalstar in Trouble, Intelsat In Play, Intelsat & Panamsat to Merge, Inmarsat F2 Launched, Space Capsule, Global Satellite Providers Now Three, WildBlue Partners with DirecTV & Echostar, John Malone in Space, BSkyB + Google, SkyNet Satellite Hacked?, Lockheed CEO: Space is Broken, MSS: AWS Alternative?, WildBlue: AT&T’s DeathStar?, Intelsat Spotbeam Launched, MSS: AWS Alternative?, Tracking Hazardous Materials — & The Iditarod, Globalstar in Trouble, GlobalStar: Give Us Repeater Freqs, Satphones Localize, John Malone in Space, T-Mobile Plans UMTS, AWS: It’s Done, Fight for the Right (of 3.5GHz), and The AWS & 700MHz Dance.

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