Mobile TV License Auction Coming to Hong Kong

Nothing like a good auction to kick off a new year. And Hong Kong is the place for all the excitement.

The Hong Kong government said that it will “auction three mobile TV licenses in 2009,” a move that could put city viewers one step closer to watching their favorite dramas and soccer matches on the go.

The licenses (which will span fifteen years) will allow operators to broadcast in the DVB-H standard common in Europe and in the T-DMB standard common in Korea.

High bidders for the licenses will have to begin broadcasting within a year and a half, putting the start of the market’s mobile TV rollout in the second half of 2010.

Japan leads the world in tiny TVs, with 20 million cell phones equipped with TV receivers. South Korea is next, with 8.2 million, according to data from U.S.-based research firm In-Stat, which says that there were 29.7 million mobile TV viewers in the world at the end of 2007.

The number is expected to nearly double to 56.9 million by the end of 2008, driven by strong growth in Japan.

Interestingly enough, about 1 million Italians pay as much as thirty bucks a month to watch about 12 channels from three different mobile TV providers.