A new generation of satellites, and spectrum assigned to mobile satellite services, will play a prominent role in the next major development in television and radio broadcasting. New satellite to mobile services will enable relatively rapid roll-outs across major regions of the world. That is the conclusion of a major new report published by informitv and launched at the International Broadcasting Convention in Amsterdam.

A number of new satellites have already been launched or are scheduled for launch in the next year. The European Commission has invited proposals from prospective operators of a pan-European service. It expects to complete the selection procedure in the first part of 2009 and the first satellite launches could take place in 2009.

The technology has already been proven in Asia and plans for new satellite services are well underway in the United States.

Spectrum assigned to mobile satellite services holds the key to unlocking this potentially massive market. The same spectrum can also be used for terrestrial transmissions. As a result, a combination of satellite and terrestrial transmission will deliver the next generation of television, radio and associated multimedia services to mobile and in-vehicle receivers.

The report, Satellite to Mobile: Television and radio broadcasting — Global markets and opportunities, suggests that mobile television will initially be dominated by free-to-air channels, while subscription radio services are more likely to be adopted for use in vehicles.

With suitable spectrum at a premium, the report considers the value of frequencies assigned to mobile satellite services in the context of the vast sums paid by mobile operators and the prospect of the digital dividend following the end of analogue television.

“Satellite has a number of competitive advantages. Spectrum is available, some of it essentially in the same band as used for 3G mobile communications, and much of it without being subject to auction,” says Roger Stanyard, co-author of the report and an international authority on satellite broadcasting with 25 years experience in market research and management consulting.

The report concludes that current and prospective satellite operators have a window of opportunity to exploit spectrum available to them to provide the next generation of mobile satellite services.