Korea's mobile TV technology, DMB, or Digital Media Broadcasting, will be exported to Vietnam TV. The Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute (ETRI) announced on October 21 that its business unit DMBro and the state-run Vietnam TV signed a memorandum of understanding to introduce the terrestrial DMB service there. In an official statement from the chairman of ETRI, he said, ""This MOU is significant as it marks the first launch abroad of our terrestrial DMB technology that Korea commercialized first."
ETRI has been working closely with Broadtech SC, an affiliate of Vietnam TV, since May of last year, when the DMB tests began. Vietnam TV will start commercially offering its DMB service starting this month, in November 2009. DMBro and Broadtech SC are both going to cooperate with the three major telecoms firms in Vietnam starting next year. Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City are the two major targets for expansion of the service. The major goal for the first three years is going to be 5 million subscribers between the two cities.
The Korea IT Times spoke with Dr. Yang Seung-taik, currently the chairman of KDC Group, Invited Researcher of ETRI and former Minister of Information and Communication, who had been extensively involved in the process. He spoke with us for a few minutes on what has been going on there. He said, "I went to Vietnam to help them out with some problems they were having. There were technical issues that they could not resolve." He said that he was able to get the technical issues sorted out, and that the project was able to get back on track.
He related an interesting story about the whole process over the last year. Apparently, Vietnam TV and its subsidiary Broadtech SC were so eager to begin the testing process for DMB that they began broadcasting without a broadcast license. "They started in May of last year, but they had no license. So they had to pay a bit of a fine," said Dr. Yang. But even with these setbacks, the company was able to successfully complete the testing.
Dr. Yang marks this event as an important step for Korean industry. There are many different kinds of DMB technology, he explained, developed in different countries at approximately the same time. These countries are all interested in exporting their particular brand of DMB to other countries, so a DMB format war is heating up. Korea is a little late to the export game, because Vietnam is the first country which it has successfully exported to, but other countries in South America and Southeast Asia are also tentatively looking into things. Malaysia, Cambodia, Mexico, and Peru are among those he mentioned as interested in exporting Korean DMB technology.
Dr. Yang was rather humble about the whole thing, and he seemed a little taken aback by all the attention given to this event. However, as technology export is one of the most important ways that Korea makes its money, this very well could be the beginning of one of the most successful times in Korea's history. DMB can very well become another growth engine for the Korean economy, and Dr. Yang Seung-taik is instrumental in getting it started.