On Wednesday, the European Commission (EC) endorsed the Digital Video Broadcasting for Handhelds (DVB-H) standard for mobile television services throughout the European Union (EU), dealing a setback to Qualcomm and to various South Korean vendors that had hoped to bring rival technologies to Europe. Developed by research institutes in Europe, DVB-H is backed by a group of companies led by Finnish handset manufacturer Nokia. Although the market for mobile TV services in Europe remains in its infancy, most European carriers offering the service have adopted DVB-H. Accordingly, the EC stated that DVB-H “appears to be the strongest contender for future mobile TV deployment in Europe” and further predicted that the standard “will form the basis for successful introduction and take-up of terrestrial mobile TV services in the EU.” So far, Italy boasts Europe’s largest market for mobile TV services with half a million users. Last month, mobile TV services were introduced commercially in Finland, and France and Spain are expected to roll out services later this year. Experts say that the future of mobile TV in Europe appears promising, as the EU boasts 480 million prospective customers. While the EC stopped short of requiring mandatory use of DVB-H, the EC said it would consider drafting rules to mandate DVB-H “if necessary and appropriate.” The EC took that approach twenty years ago when it mandated GSM as the standard for wireless telephony throughout Europe. Due in large part to that decision, 82% of wireless phone subscribers throughout the world now use GSM, and observers say that the enactment of a similar mandate with respect to DVB-H could deal a serious blow to Qualcomm in its effort to market its MediaFLO technology outside of the U.S. Declaring, “Europe today is at a crossroads,” EU Telecom Commissioner Viviane Reding said, “we can either take the lead globally—as we did for mobile telephony based on the GSM standard developed by the European industry—or allow other regions to take the lion’s share of the promising mobile TV market.”