“The experimental 5G spectrum allocation for six months will be used to test the company’s broadcast radio head (BRH) product and also an internally developed prototype broadcast-enabled mobile handset capable of receiving broadcast signals,” Saankhya Labs CEO Parag Naik told ET.
Post trials in the 700 MHz and 600 MHz bands in Bengaluru, Saankhya’s BRH product will be deployed by US private broadcaster Sinclair Broadcast Group for offering live television services on mobile phones in the US market, he said.
Separately, Saankhya plans to showcase its broadcast-enabled prototype handset to global original equipment manufacturers and offer the chipset reference design for integration in their phones, Naik said. The company has no plans to directly enter the handsets business.
Saankhya’s core BRH product, which is already certified by US Federal Communications Commission (FCC), enables convergence of broadcast and mobile broadband networks, allowing digital terrestrial broadcasters to boost their reach and, potentially, market share. The company is targeting its commercial launch in the US by the third quarter of calendar 2022.
Sinclair Broadcast’s interest in Saankhya’s BRH device – which resembles a box-like mini TV transmitter – stems from dwindling consumer interest in normal TV viewing in the US, Naik said. “Sinclair wants our product as it would enable them to take their television content to the far more ubiquitous mobile phone.”
Access to the device would also allow Sinclair to offer data distribution services like firmware upgrades to its US auto clients over a broadcast network.
Since firmware upgrade app is typically a huge data guzzler, Sinclair would be able to offer the same service over a broadcast network at far lower rates than over standard unicast networks, Naik said.