DAB on Your Phone? Not likely.

There has been a lot of talk recently about distribution of music via mobile phones. Short to mid term opportunities are limited by network capabilities. Although some operators (such as O2) have already launched services, they have done so by heavily compressing files (which inevitably means quality loss). Although O2 have made commendable strides with their technology we are only at the start of the curve and improvements in bandwidth and compression are needed.

One of the alternative solutions that have been suggested by some is the inclusion of Digital Audio Broadcast (DAB) chips in handsets: thus allowing the end user to receive high quality digital music without any network issues. But, although this idea sounds like a win win in principle, there are a couple of good reasons it won’t fly: it completely bypasses the operator. The end user would not be using digital data services to receive music on his or her handset and would thus be denying the operator invaluable data revenues. Also, it would dis-intermediate handset manufactures such as Nokia who are trying to develop their own portal solutions.

So incorporating DAB chips in mobile handsets would be great news for consumers but bad news for operators and other content providers.

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