KOREA: KBS to start terrestrial mobile television services next month

World's first terrestrial mobile service to launch Dec. 1

The Korea Herald
Tuesday, November 22, 2005

By Kim Min-hee

State-run broadcaster KBS will begin land-based mobile television services starting Dec. 1, the company said yesterday.

The occasion marks the world's first terrestrial mobile service and is based on homegrown technology dubbed "digital multimedia broadcasting."

"U-KBS" can be accessed from DMB-enabled mobile phones for free and will consist of four channels: U KBS Star, U KBS Heart, U KBS Music and U KBS Clover.

U KBS Star and U KBS Heart will air mostly re-runs of major programs from KBS's two channels but the TV station plans to increase the portion of exclusive programs in the future.

U KBS Music, an audio channel, will air CD-quality music. U KBS Clover is a data channel offering real-time news, weather, job information, stocks information and transportation.

In related news, Minister of Information and Communication Chin Dae-je said yesterday he expects DMB-enabled phones to account for as much as 80 percent of all wireless handsets in three years.

"Camera-embedded mobile phones make up 80 percent of all phones now since their debut five years ago," Chin said at a meeting of Kosdaq companies. "As for mobile phones that enable TV watching, they'll account for between 70 and 80 percent of all phones in three years."

Chin stressed that such value-added features serve to be big engines for growth of the economy, "regardless of whether consumers use the function or not."

Chin predicted this year's IT exports to be little short of $80 billion.

He added 60 trillion won would be poured in over the next ten years to replace the current high-speed internet network with BcN, a massive internet protocol designed to allow people to access the network from a wide range of devices from nearly anywhere. At the center of strategies to drive Korea's future IT growth, the BcN provides connection speeds between 50 mbps to 100 mbps, or 50 times faster than services available now.