Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. is planning a cellular telephone that can receive multimedia programming broadcasts via satellite, the company said Thursday.
The new phone, which is still in the development stage, is expected to be compatible with a new satellite broadcasting service that is planned to launch in South Korea and Japan later this year.
The planned handset will be based around a new chip developed by Samsung which was announced this week. The chip includes an Arm Ltd. processor core and can decode the satellite broadcasts as well as functions such as billing for pay-per-view services, the company said.
The broadcasting service, planned by Mobile Broadcasting Corp. in Japan and TU Media Corp. in South Korea, will offer a number of audio and video channels and is designed to be received by portable terminals. Programming line-ups have not yet been announced but Japanese subscribers are expected to be able to access around 70 channels of entertainment while those in South Korea should get access to around 40 channels.
A vital step towards realizing the service -- the successful launch of the satellite that will carry the programming -- has yet to be made. MBSat is currently scheduled to be launched in March 12 aboard an Atlas rocket, said Keiko Ando, a spokeswoman for the company. After that the company is planning a trial service from April and a commercial launch in July.
The services will be broadcast on frequencies around 2.6GHz, close to the 2.1GHz band used by 3G telephone services and much lower than the frequencies used by conventional satellite broadcasting. The lower frequency means that a tightly aligned dish antenna is not needed -- something that would make it impractical for mobile use -- however a clear signal is still required so Mobile Broadcasting has been building a network of repeaters across Japan to provide fill-in service in areas that are out of the satellite coverage area.
More details of the planned service are expected upon successful launch of the satellite. Samsung said its plans for a compatible cellular handset are dependent on the service start date.