Monday, August 29, 2011

Naver Halts Mobile Baseball Broadcasting

The local media are reporting on an interesting example of the limits of mobile data networks in Korea.  As reported in The Korea Times, Naver has called an abrupt halt to mobile broadcasting of professional baseball games over 3G networks.
The country’s top portal stopped providing a mobile baseball broadcasting service through the 3G network only 40 days after its launch.
It says it halted the service as it didn’t want to offer poor quality viewing, but it evidently lacked proper preparation.
Following an agreement with the Korea Baseball Organization, Naver started broadcasting games from July 6, citing growing demand among baseball fans who didn’t want to miss any games on their way home from work.
The service immediately drew fans, with as many as 20,000 users logging on to the service using their smartphones or tablets at the same time only two weeks after launching.
“There was growing consumer complaints as the streaming often stopped. We determined that we had better stop it to offer better quality service,” a representative for Naver said.
The top portal, however, can’t be free from criticism that it launched the service too hastily. At the time there was concern that the mobile broadcasting would weigh too much on a 3G network already suffering huge traffic.
When watching a baseball game of about three hours on a smartphone, it incurs 700 megabytes of data traffic. Since as many as 20,000 people were watching a game simultaneously, the burden on the network was debilitating.

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