Bell Mobile TV

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Bell Mobile TV is a mobile television service available to Bell Mobility and Virgin Mobile Canada customers. As of Q4 2013, there are 1 230 000 customers with Mobile TV, or over 15.8% of Bell's mobile customer base.[1]

History[edit]

2000s: Early versions[edit]

Early versions of Bell Mobile TV used the slower CDMA network.

2010s: new HSPA+ version and tablet support[edit]

The Bell Mobile TV was launched for Bell smartphones on October 18, 2010.[2] Support for tablet computer and Virgin Mobile Canada customers was later added.

2015s: Version 5.0[edit]

Version 5.0 was launched on Android devices on December 2014 and on iOS on January 2015. The new app introduced new usage metering to allow users to track their viewing time. The application added support for the newer operating systems such as iOS 8 and Lollipop. The video on demand section of the app had an overhaul to allow better navigation of content. Crave TV content was included as a section of Bell TV app.

Hardware[edit]

Early iterations of Bell Mobile TV only supported CDMA handsets with the Evolution-Data Optimized (EV-DO) technology. In the 2010s, support for these older devices was discontinued in favor of faster HSPA+ handsets and technology.

Devices capable of Bell Mobile TV include iOS hardware such as the iPhone and iPad, but not the iPod Touch or the Apple TV. Newer Android and BlackBerry handsets and tablets sold by Bell or Virgin

Services[edit]

Mobile TV[edit]

Service plans for Mobile TV and Tablet TV cost $5 per month and include 10 hours of access to all live and on demand channels. Those who watch additional hours will pay $3 per hour. If any hours are unused, they cannot be rolled over to the next month. Fees also include any data used for watching Bell Mobile TV. The same service, at the same rates and with the same conditions, are also available on Virgin Mobile Canada, but not on Solo Mobile.

Applications for Bell Mobile TV are preloaded on some Bell smartphones and tablets at no additional charge, but require a subscription in order to be used. The service is optimized for use on the more recent HSPA+ network, as additional fees may apply for some legacy and unsupported CDMA hardware. Unlimited use over Wi-Fi was previously possible, but has since been discontinued. The mobile television service works like, but the channel selection is limited compared to, Bell TV and Bell Fibe TV.[3]

Channels[edit]

Bell divides its Mobile TV channels into several themes. Although each previously incurred separate charges, Bell's current rates include access to all channels without having to choose specific themes:

Channels and programming in italics are On Demand. These channels are also available Live, with the exception of Aux, Bite, Comedy, and all HBO offerings.

Criticism[edit]

In 2011, the CRTC ruled in a complaint by Telus that Bell could not use the Mobile TV service to tie exclusive mobile rights to content (specifically, NHL and NFL games) to its own services without offering them to competing providers.[4][5]

In December 2013, the CRTC received a complaint alleging that Bell's pricing structure for Mobile TV was a violation of the undue preference rules in the Telecommunications Act. As the service charges by hours viewed, counting separately from overall mobile data use, it was considered to be an effective subsidy on Bell-owned content transmitted over the mobile network that does not apply to any other competing video services.[6] On January 29, 2015, the CRTC ruled that Bell had violated the undue preference rules with its mobile TV offerings, and ordered it to change its pricing structure by April 29, 2015.[7]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Hardy, Ian (February 6, 2014). "Bell has 1,230,000 Mobile TV subscribers". Retrieved February 6, 2014. 
  2. ^ "Bell launches 3 Mobile TV theme packages: Sports, Variety and HBO". Mobile Syrup. Retrieved 2012-05-15. 
  3. ^ Mobile TV brochure. Bell Canada. Current as of July 2011.
  4. ^ "Broadcasting Decision CRTC 2011-765". CRTC. Retrieved 18 December 2013. 
  5. ^ Kelly, Brendan (December 17, 2011). "Hockey team sale changes game in Canada". Variety. Retrieved December 30, 2011. 
  6. ^ "Bell's discounting of mobile TV against the rules, complaint claims". CBC News. Retrieved 18 December 2013. 
  7. ^ [Net neutrality: CRTC bans Bell from subsidizing data usage for mobile TV app "Net neutrality: CRTC bans Bell from subsidizing data usage for mobile TV app"]. The Globe and Mail. January 29, 2015. Retrieved 29 January 2015.