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S2M to launch region’s first satellite-to-mobile TV service

Satellite technology to offer seamless mobile TV to users across the region from next year

S2M, a Dubai-based company specialising in satellite broadcasting, is planning to launch the region's first satellite-to-mobile TV service in the MENA region early next year, the company's vice president of commercial operations, Wejdi Harzallah, told CommsMEA.

S2M, which stands for "satellite to mobile", will launch its own satellite next year, allowing TV and radio stations to broadcast across the Middle East and North Africa. The company will combine satellite technology with terrestrial broadband to give roaming mobile users access to high quality video and audio broadcasts.

S2M's technology is designed to broadcast multiple channels to large numbers of subscribers, giving it an advantage over 3G networks, which could lack the bandwidth to deliver the same amount of information at the same quality, Harzallah said.

"With this technology you can receive very good quality video and audio broadcasts on different types of mobile device everywhere," Harzallah said. "Users can roam from one country to another seamlessly and they have a wide range of channels because of the bandwidth on the S-band, which allows you to have a far wider band than you would have on a terrestrial network. We truly believe content owners and telcos have an interest in being part of this."

S2M is already in negotiations with content providers and mobile operators in the region and Harzallah is upbeat about the outcome. "From the content point of view, content providers are looking to extend their reach," he said. "They are technology agnostic, they want to be everywhere. They are looking at this as a future opportunity, they have content and they want to extend their reach and generate extra revenue."

The technology being deployed by S2M was developed in Japan and Korea in 2004, and is now being rolled out by various companies around the world. "There are many technological advances that took place between 2004 and now that we are also incorporating in to the Middle East deployment," Harzallah added.