Direct-to-Mobile broadcasting Roundup: Everything you need to know about this new technology

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The Department of Telecommunications and India’s public service broadcaster Prasar Bharti has been working on a technology that will allow the broadcasting of video and other forms of multimedia content directly to mobile phones, without a need for an active internet connection. Thie technology is being called a ‘Direct-to-Mobile’ (D2M) service and it claims to improve the consumption of broadband and utilization of spectrum.

What exactly is Direct-to-Mobile technology?

The technology is based on the convergence of broadband and broadcast, using which smartphones will receive terrestrial digital TV. This would be similar to how an FM radio works on your phone, where a receiver can tap into radio frequencies. Using D2M, multimedia content will also be beamed to phones directly. OTT platforms like Netflix can also use the D2M tech to push multimedia content to mobile phones directly.

What can D2M do for everyone?

The D2M tech will help the government convey important information directly to the people, issue emergency alerts, counter fake news, and assist with disaster management. It will help the cable and DTH sectors to broadcast now to homes without needing any intermediary. The telecom and internet service providers will be able to offload video traffic from their mobile network onto the broadcast network. This will increase the data speeds and reduce call drops substantially.

For the consumers, it would mean access to multimedia content from VoD or OTT platforms without exhausting their mobile data and at a nominal price. This will be more useful for those in rural areas, as they have limited or no internet access to watch videos. Users living in places with limited or no internet access will be able to watch video content without an active internet connection.

The new D2M tech will support students to access educational content for schools and colleges in remote areas. Farmers can access weather forecasts and information on different cultural practices without the internet.

What has DoT done to bring D2M?

The Department of Technology has conducted a study to find a spectrum band that will help offer broadcast services directly to users’ smartphones. IIT Kanpur collaborated with Prasar Bharti to test the feasibility of the D2M tech and delivered proof of the concept. Prasar Bharti uses the 526-582 MHz band for terrestrial TV broadcasting and the same band is said to work in sync for both mobile and broadcast services.

When can D2M tech be expected?

The D2M technology is still in a nascent stage in the country and won’t be available before 3-4 years.

Challenges to D2M tech

Prasar Bharti’s CEO claims that bringing key stakeholders like mobile operators on board will be the biggest challenge in launching D2M technology on a wide scale. I&B Ministry Secretary Apurva Chandra said a mass roll-out of the tech will need some changes in infrastructure and some regulatory changes as well.

Shivangi AgarwalShivangi Agarwal
Shivangi is an honours graduate in English from Delhi University with a passion for reading and writing. Always keen to know more about the latest gadgets, when she is not reading about tech, she loves listening to Hindi music and grooving to the latest Hindi beats.

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