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Mobile Network To Stop Terrestrial Broadcasting As Of Monday

Mobile Network To Stop Terrestrial Broadcasting As Of Monday

Mobile Internet protocol television (IPTV) users will be unable to watch terrestrial television on their mobile devices from Monday as broadcasters stop providing the service, IPTV service operators say.

The Korea IPTV Broadcasting Association (KIBA) said Sunday the live streaming and video-on-demand services of terrestrial broadcasts through mobile app "pooq" would not be provided for new and old subscribers of mobile IPTV services.

KIBA represents local IPTV service operators run by the three major telecom companies -- SK Telecom, KT and LG Uplus. SK Telecom provides the service through its affiliate, SK Broadband.

The association blamed the Contents Alliance Platform (CAP) for unilaterally discontinuing the contract to provide the service. CAP has been jointly established by local terrestrial broadcasters including the Korean Broadcasting System, Munhwa Broadcasting Corp., Seoul Broadcasting System and Education Broadcasting System, and operates the pooq service.

"The terrestrial broadcasters' unilateral move to stop the service will negatively affect the ecosystem of the nation's media industry," KIBA said. "The suspension of the terrestrial television service on mobile should not last long for the sake of the local smart media industry's growth."

In May, CAP argued that it would not extend the contract to provide the terrestrial television content unless IPTV service operators accepted a rate hike to 3,900 won a month.

KIBA has refused to accept the plan, saying the hike is too steep for its subscribers.

"We have made alternative suggestions such as separately providing the pooq service for those who want it," the association said. "But the broadcasters rejected them, saying that the service must be included in the IPTV package and be paid accordingly."

Consequently, the only way to watch terrestrial television on mobile now is to download the pooq app and pay the monthly fee.

Expectations are that existing subscribers of the service will be able to continue to use the terrestrial broadcasting service on mobile. But the latest decision has made them limited to use the service like the new subscribers.

Those who have used the service through KT, however, will tentatively be able to continue to use it until further notice, KIBA said.

To compensate for the loss, SK Broadband said it would arrange more channels and provide extra benefits such as free movies in July and August. It also said it would not charge its subscribers for terrestrial television service use in June.

LG Uplus said it planned to provide about 50 movies to its subscribers free every month.

Meanwhile, terrestrial broadcasters argued that the mobile carriers are undermining their right to decide on the price of content they produced by offering the mobile IPTV service free to lure more subscribers.

They also said the telecom companies were degrading the value of local television content while importing the costly content produced by foreign companies such as HBO and Netflix.