Going digital will offer the UAE huge opportunities
“The UAE switchover from analogue to digital broadcasting will be accomplished by 2013,” said Mohamed al Ghanim, the Director General of the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA). “Once we migrate, we will look into a licensing model. It’s going to open huge opportunities for operators, content and mobility.”
Free to air DTT services as well as Pay DTT and high-tech services such as mobile video on demand are expected to be made available. Digital TV is already available in the UAE through satellite and internet protocol television (IPTV) services.
Terrestrial TV is not widely watched in the UAE. A recent study found there were just 138 terrestrial TV stations broadcasting across 19 Arab countries, including the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. More than half of those are broadcast in Palestine, Iraq and Egypt.
Industry observers said the dominance of satellite TV in the UAE meant commercial opportunities around digital terrestrial stations were uncertain.
Another issue is regulation. At present, satellite television stations are not regulated or controlled by the Government, unlike terrestrial channels and IPTV stations.
Source: Asia Pacific Broadcasting Union