Friday 22 December 2023

5G Broadcast - Ready For Global Launch 2024

The Universal Radio and Television Mobility Platform 

 The LTE-based 5G Terrestrial Broadcast System or ”5G Broadcast” might soon disrupt and replace terrestrial digital broadcasting models as DVB-T2 and DAB writes the Public Service Council (Sweden) in a report.

In 2024 there are 7 billion smartphones in the world. Global 5G mobile subscriptions are projected to reach 1.6 billion by the end of 2023. The smartphone is a versatile communication tool. More than previously anticipated it is now becoming the most important platform for radio and television listening and viewing. Video and audio streaming (including radio and television channels) is now taking approximately 75% of the global Internet capacity.

Media content is increasingly being delivered on Internet via fixed line and mobile IP networks. Audiences on the move will consume OTT (Over-the-top) broadband media. OTT as a platform for radio and television already is outpacing DTT (DVB-T2) and DAB-radio via smartphones and Connected Cars via fixed and mobile broadband as well WiFi access. 

Thursday 30 November 2023

DAB+ in an Old DAB Radio, Forget It!

Millions of UK DAB radio listeners to be locked out 

DAB radio listeners are facing the possibility of being locked out of popular stations, including Classic FM, as major channels are abandoning older DAB radio system in favor of the new DAB+ technology. This move is forcing listeners to purchase more modern radios in order to continue accessing their favorite stations.

The shift to digital radio was initially prompted by the government’s plan to turn off the FM signal, but with this delay until at least 2030, many DAB radios are becoming obsolete as they can only pick up the DAB signal and not the modern DAB+. Classic FM, which boasts around 4.5 million listeners, is among the popular stations that have announced their switch to DAB+. However, this change will leave behind around one-third of DAB radio owners who do not have DAB+ capacity.

Wednesday 15 November 2023

DAB Will Never Replace FM In Australia

For commercial radio digital radio will play a "complementary and supporting role"

DAB is a great digital radio platform. But it will never replace analog FM broadcasting in Australia. So said Ford Ennals, CEO of Australia’s Commercial Radio & Audio, during his “DAB Down Under” talk at the WorldDAB Summit 2023 in Munich, Germany. He is drawing the same conclusions as the government made already in 2015.

In Australia, we were a relative early adopter of DAB, said Ennals. 2009 I think we started. And it’s important, but it will never take the place of FM. I think there will be markets where DAB has an important role to play, but it’s a complementary and supporting role.

Tuesday 14 November 2023

Norwegian Broadcast Provider Sells Itself out of Belgium

Norkring's transmitter network sold for a surprisingly low price.

The investment company Cordiant Digital Infrastructure, based in the tax haven of Guernsey, takes over the company Norkring België, from Telenor (75%) and Participatiemaatschappij Vlaanderen (25%) for 5.25 million euros according to

Norkring Belgium was founded in 2008 through the privatization of the transmitter park and transmission towers of the public broadcaster VRT. In total, Norkring Belgium owns 25 communication and broadcasting masts, including the large mast in Sint-Pieters-Leeuw near Brussels, the tallest structure in Belgium at 325 meters. In addition, Norkring also operates he two national commercial DAB+ networks. Norkring also owns a digital terrestrial network in Flanders.

Saturday 28 October 2023

Political Agreement Call Off FM Radio Switch-off in Bavaria

Strong industry opposition put an end to the media authority's plans

The threatened FM shutdown in Bavaria in 2025 is off the agenda, as evidenced by the coalition agreement signed on October 26, 2023 by the CSU and the Free Voters. The agreement states that they want to extend the FM frequencies until 2035. "FM will only be switched off when the financial viability of the private radio industry allows this," the parties write.

A big row about FM and DAB had arisen in the German state of Bavaria before the Media Days conference in Munich, despite the fact that the state is where DAB radio has the strongest position in Germany. Large parts of the commercial radio industry have protested against the authority's plans to begin shutting down FM as the current broadcasting license expires in 2025.

Sunday 8 October 2023

FM Radio Will Stay On in Norway

Local radio retains its current FM licenses until 2031

Today, national radio channels in Norway only broadcast on DAB, while FM is still the main platform for local radio. The government is now scrapping its previous proposal to re-announce all FM concessions in 2025 and proposes that the local radio stations may keep their concessions until 2031.  -  What will happen next with FM in Norway is still difficult to predict, but the experiences from the rest of the world suggest that FM will be retained for decades to come. No other countries have yet replaced FM with DAB.

Thursday 21 September 2023

Digital Terrestrial Radio To Reach Billions In Asia

DRM becoming the choice for major countries. 

New analog/digital portable receivers unveiled.

In connection with the IBC Show in Amsterdam three major Asian countries - Pakistan, Indonesia and China - have made announcements indicating DRM (Digital Radio Mondiale) now is becoming the standard system for digital terrestrial broadcasting. This will probably put an end to the efforts by competing systems as DAB and HD Radio to get a major market foothold in Asia. Especially since India, world’s most populous nation, already has established nationwide DRM broadcasting. Together the population of the four countries is 3,2 billion.

The digital system DRM is used in the present frequency bands FM, medium wave and shortwave with a better geo coverage than DAB. The DAB system is not compatible with DRM.

Tuesday 19 September 2023

Germany Turns to Radio and Music Listening Online

Over 50 million listen to internet audio, 19 million via a Smart TV

According to Online Audio Monitor 2023 internet audio usage in Germany is reaching a new high: 50.2 million people in Germany listen to audio offerings from the Internet at least occasionally, which corresponds to 71% of the population aged 14 and over. The biggest increase was recorded by web radio, which was listened to more often in the age group of 50 and over. However, music streaming remains the most used online audio format in the general population (60%), ahead of web radio (52%), podcasts or radio programs for listening (30%) and audio books and radio plays (24%).

Monday 10 July 2023

Public Broadcasters In Six EU Countries Go For 5G Broadcast

Broadcasters from Germany, France, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands and Austria signed a joint declaration of intent on 5G Broadcast.

5G Broadcast describes an extension of the 5G standard to transmit linear radio and TV programs. A joint European roadmap defines the further milestones for a possible introduction of 5G broadcast-based services as a supplement to existing DVB-T installations. 5G Broadcast has been ready for the commercial market launch since the beginning of 2023: standardization is largely complete, leading broadcasting companies in Europe have been testing ideas and concepts for several years — and the first smartphone prototypes are already available.

The goal is to work together on activities to further define broadcast services and opportunities and their validate business models. Bayrische Rundfunk, France Télévisions, NPO, ORF/ORS, RTÉ, RAI, SWR have signed and are now jointly setting the pace.

Friday 30 June 2023

In Ten Years, We Will Listen To Radio Mostly Online Instead Of Terrestrial

Germany Shows The Way: Today, FM still strong, while DAB stagnates

Just over six years ago, the federal government presented an action plan to transition to digital radio broadcasting. No switch-off date for analogue distribution of radio via FM was given. According to the latest media analysis, 89% of the population in Germany still listens to FM radio every day. 15.1 percent use DAB+ every day, net radio has a daily reach of 9.1 percent. According to journalist Volker Nünning, the action plan from 2017 seems to have been forgotten in media politics: The digitization of radio is only going slowly, also because the market players have different interests.

Tuesday 9 May 2023

FM Radio and Smartphones Go Together in World’s Most Populous Nation

New Smartphones in India Must Include FM Radio.

FM radio is no longer found on smartphones these days. However, the Indian IT Ministry has issued an advisory that states mobile phone makers must ensure that FM radio is available on all smartphones. All smartphones that are to be sold in India should mandatorily have the FM radio enabled by default. With this move, the Indian government will make radio services accessible to people residing in rural and remote areas. 

Moreover, FM radio, being a low-cost and reliable mode of communication, can be helpful in making emergency announcements. The Ministry highlighted the significance of the vast network of FM transmitters and FM radio available in India which played a crucial role in the country’s efforts to combat the Covid-19 pandemic.

Sunday 7 May 2023

Another 5G Broadcast Test in the Czech Republic

The Czech national transmission company CRA has started the second phase of testing 5G broadcast technology undertaken from two Prague transmitters – Zizkov and Strahov. Broadcasting will be carried out within a single-frequency network, in the case of Zizkov, with the same power as currently broadcast in DVB-T2. The purpose of the test is to verify signal coverage in Prague and the possibility of mobile reception of TV broadcasts and the setting of various modulation schemes to ensure optimal broadcast parameters.

5G Half of Mobile Subscriptions Worldwide by 2027

5G mobile subscriptions stood at 1.7 billion at the end of 2022, accounting for 18 per cent of total mobile subscriptions worldwide, according to data and analytics company GlobalData. The figure is forecast to rise to 5.5 billion, occupying a share of 48 per cent of total mobile subscriptions by 2027.

Friday 28 April 2023

DAB Transition in Norway Contributes Radio Fast Losing Listeners

Problems for public service and national commercial broadcaster after leaving FM.

The report Mediebarometer 2022 by Statistics Norway (SSB), which puts numbers on the dramatic changes in the media audience in recent years, especially regarding radio and television in Norway. Norwegians now use more than two hours per day (2:07) to listen to the radio and other audio media. Here the radio has the smaller share of 52 minutes, a decrease from 1991 by about 50% (-54 min). Only 49% of the population listens to the radio (DAB, FM and Internet). In 1991, the share for radio was 71%. The percentage of youth and young adults who listen to the radio continues to fall. Four out of ten of the population listen to DAB radio on an average day, despite DAB receivers being found in 8 out of 10 households.

A previously feared fiasco is thus confirmed. When the three national broadcasters left FM, many of its listeners chose to switch to platforms other than as planned; DAB. This means that Norwegian radio is losing listeners at a faster rate than in many other countries including its Nordic neighbours. This is contrary to the objective of replacing FM with DAB in 2017.

Monday 24 April 2023

DAB Radio in Sweden - Previously Condemned and Dismissed, Back on the Agenda

Digital radio report commissioned by the government faces harsh criticism.

The parliamentary public service broadcasting investigation has now been appointed with Göran Hägglund (KD) as chairman. According to the government's directive, the committee must, among several other things, investigate whether Sveriges Radio (SR) can expand a national DAB network by its own budget funds. This directive is characterized by the mapping and analysis of digital radio development in Europe, which the Authority for Press, Radio and Television (MPRT) carried out on behalf of the government in 2022. In addition, the "radio industry" - i.e. Viaplay and Bauer - exert pressure on the matter.

Thursday 6 April 2023

British Radio Will Be Must-Carry Online on Smart Speakers

New media bill will dramatically tackle online challenges 

The government claims the draft Media Bill will enable public service broadcasters to unleash their potential to grow, produce more top quality British content and invest in new technologies to keep viewers tuning in amid fierce competition from subscription-based online platforms. It marks the next step in the government’s plan to modernise decades-old broadcasting legislation. New reforms have been added to protect the position of UK radio on smart speakers as listeners increasingly move away from AM and FM stations in favour of internet-based services.

Smart speaker platforms – such as Google and Amazon – will be required by law to ensure access to all licenced UK radio stations, from major national stations to the smallest community stations. Platforms will be banned from charging stations for being hosted on their services or overlaying their own adverts over the top of those stations’ programmes.

Saturday 18 March 2023

Austria Opens UHF-Band For 5G Broadcasting

A step forward for radio and TV broadcasting on mobile networks 

The Finance Ministry has issued the revision of Austria’s Radio Frequency Regulation which will allow for 5G Broadcast transmissions in the lower UHF Band (470-694 MHz). This band will now be shared by both DVB-T2 and 5G Broadcast.   

The Austrian broadcast network provider ORS is significantly involved in the enhancement of the new 5G Broadcast transmission standard which enables linear broadcast content to be distributed directly to mobile devices such as smartphones or tablets – without Wi-Fi or internet. The ORS is driving research and development forward in Austria to ensure that 5G Broadcast transmission behaves in a similarly efficient manner to DVB-T2. 

Tuesday 7 March 2023

FM Radio Still Going Strong in the Netherlands

FM Retained in the Netherlands - Until at Least 2035 

The Dutch will stick to the broadcasts of national commercial radio stations via FM until at least 2035. This is evident from the announcement of the auction procedure of national commercial FM and DAB frequencies by Minister Micky Adriaansens (VVD) of Economic Affairs and Climate.

According to the minister, the transition from FM to digital infrastructures, including DAB+, is progressing too slowly, which means that switching off FM is not realistic before 2035. Research by Dialogic also shows that there is no other valuable use for the FM frequencies and there is no global visibility. for any use other than broadcast radio.

Thursday 9 February 2023

Spain again testing 5G Broadcast

Pilot project for radio and tv on mobile without consuming data

Cellnex Telecom has launched, together with Rohde Schwarz, Ateme and Qualcomm Technologies, a pilot to test 5G Broadcast emissions. 5G Broadcast will allow viewers to receive linear TV and radio content on their mobile phones with low battery consumption, without the need to consume data and with quality coverage.The contents of the test broadcasts that can be accessed via mobile include Canal 24h, La1 and Radio5 of the public service broadcaster RTVE.

The tests, which began in mid-January, have been carried out during the ISE international audiovisual fair and will end after the MWC Barcelona 2023 that will take place at Fira Gran Via de l'Hospitalet from February 27 to March 2. In this way, throughout seven weeks, users can access the content through their mobile devices compatible with the 5G Broadcast signal.