Red tape snags Philippines mobile video platform


BANGKOK -- The commercial launch of the Philippines' first mobile video-broadcasting platform has been delayed because the regulatory framework has not been finalized, Gabriel Pimentel, chief executive and president of the Philippines' Mabuhay Satellite Corp., said Tuesday.

"We were ready to launch the mobile service commercially this month but we were told to stop because the regulations are not in place," Pimentel said during the opening session of the Asia Pacific Satellite Communications and Space conference and exhibition in Bangkok.

The new broadcast platform, MyTV, currently carries 10 channels including CNN, Cartoon Network, the National Geographic Channel and the History Channel.

The platform is operated by Mabuhay sister company Smart Communications Inc. and 360 Media Corp., both owned by national telecommunications company the Philippines Long Distance Telephone Co. (PLDT).

MyTV has been running a free trial in limited areas since July, which it has now extended until mid-October. No new timetable has been confirmed for the commercial launch.

PLDT previously said it planned to invest $50 million in mobile TV services.

MyTV's predicament highlighted one of the key development challenges discussed by delegates at the three-day event.

"The Asian region leads the world in a number of technologies and applications," said David Ball, Intelsat's regional vp Asia-Pacific. "But the regulatory environment means you are not sure of yourselves from day to day."