RealNetworks to unveil major European wireless deal

RealNetworks expects to announce a deal with a large European mobile operator next week that will see its software used to provide audio and video services in 28 European countries over wireless networks that support data delivery.

Promising the "largest roll out to date" of multimedia services over Europe's 2.5G (2.5 generation) and emerging 3G networks, RealNetworks' client and back-end server software will provide the technology behind the mobile offerings, according to the company's public relations agency.

RealNetworks didn't name the operator ahead of the announcement, although industry analysts pointed to Vodafone Group as perhaps the only European operator with sufficient reach to cover more than two dozen countries. "I'd be surprised if that's not who it is," said Ken Rehbehn, principal analyst for wireless infrastructure at Current Analysis.

Neil Mawston, a senior analyst with Strategy Analytics' global wireless practice in Milton Keynes, England, also pegged Vodafone as the likely partner based in its broad coverage. Neither analyst claimed knowledge of the deal.

The service, which is expected to let users play audio and video clips streamed or downloaded to their mobile phones, is scheduled to be rolled out by the end of the year. France is among the countries where the service will be offered.

RealNetworks makes the RealOne Mobile Player for playing content on handheld devices, as well as the Helix content delivery system used by mobile operators and other service providers. It competes in the market primarily with software from Microsoft.

Both vendors have found success with their media software in the maturing PC market and hope to crack the more vibrant wireless arena as a way to secure future growth. Approximately 400 million handheld devices will ship worldwide this year compared to about 100 million PCs, RealNetworks said.

RealNetworks cited its progress in the market, which includes deals with Nokia and Telefonaktiebolaget LM Ericsson, as well as with U.S. service providers AT&T Wireless Services and Verizon Communications. A deal with Vodafone would extend its lead over Microsoft in terms of support for its media software, Mawston said.

"RealNetworks is pretty much in pole position at the moment and I see them there for the long term," he said.

Europe's 2.5G networks, based on the GPRS (General Packet Radio Service) standard, offer effective data transfer rates of up to 28K bps (bits per second), barely sufficient to stream video. The 3G networks based on the UMTS (Universal Mobile Telecommunications System) standard, which are being rolled out in pockets, offer significantly faster throughput of up to 380K bps, Rehbehn said. He predicted it will be three years before UMTS use is widespread.

In the interim, the EDGE (Enhanced Data Rates for GSM Evolution) standard, which will be deployed by some operators over existing GPRS networks, will support throughput rates of about 100K bps, Rehbehn said, adding: "Which is enough that data services start to get interesting."

"What's great about the RealNetworks technology is that you can actually get the live feed from a television station or a radio station and it's optimized for the ... limitations of the mobile phone," he said.

In a separate announcement, RealNetworks said Tuesday that its RealOne Mobile Player included with Nokia's Series 60 mobile phone software now supports playback of content streamed in the 3GPP (3G Partnership Project) media format. Previously it could only playback 3GPP content stored locally on a device. RealOne Mobile Player also supports playback and streaming of its own RealAudio and RealVideo formats.

As well as offering Series 60 in its own phones Nokia has licensed the software to Samsung Electronics, Siemens, Sendo and Panasonic, a brand of Matsushita Electric Industrial.

Join the newsletter!


Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

James Niccolai

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill


I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?