8 Dec 2009 15:01

Vimpelcom invests up to $12 mln in launch of handheld TV in Moscow

MOSCOW. Dec 8 (Interfax) - OJSC VimpelCom has launched handheld television in DVB-H standard on a test regime in Moscow, the company said in a statement.

The services are being provided through Vimpelcom's subsidiary OOO Dominanta, which is licensed for handheld TV services in DVB-H standard for Moscow and its surrounding region.

A total of 35 base stations are in operation in the test zone, which provide 90% coverage for Moscow, Andrei Chernikov, the general director of Dominanta, said at a press conference on Monday. Total investment in the project comes to $10 million-$12 million.

Subscribers of handheld TV have access to 11 channels (First Channel, Rossia, Vesti, NTV, Muz-TV, Channel Five and others). In the future, Vimpelcom could expand its channel offerings, Chernikov said. "We will see how much these channels are in demand and based on this our relations with broadcasts will develop," he said.

To date the mobile TV services have been provided to subscribers free of charge. In order to use the service a subscriber must have a special Beeline SIM card and a DVB-H compatible phone.

Vimpelcom has yet to identify the exact term of return for the project if it is launched commercially. Alexander Torbakhov, the CEO of Vimpelcom, said that the handheld TV services should reach 25,000 people within a year.