Mobile telecoms heavyweights Nokia, Motorola and Texas Instruments are among the founding members of a group introduced today that backs the DVB-H (Digital Video Broadcasting Handheld) mobile TV standard in North America. The Mobile DTV Alliance will meet Qualcomm, with its competing Mediaflo technology, head-on.

The alliance, which also includes Intel, says it is supporting the open DVB-H standard in an effort to spur growth and enable handsets and services to reach the market faster and at a lower cost than would otherwise be the case.

Over the past year, operators and vendors around the world have been testing and rolling out mobile TV services using several different technologies. Some operators have started out by streaming programming to handsets over the internet. But while the method allows operators to offer the services now using their existing networks, it also uses up valuable network resources.

In the US, Qualcomm subsidiary Mediaflo is building a nationwide network based on a proprietary technology that will allow operators to offer TV content to customers. Verizon said it will use the network but Sprint Nextel just last week said it would use a broadband wireless network that it plans to build to deliver mobile TV.

Mediaflo will compete with Modeo, a member of the new alliance and a company that is building a DVB-H network. DVB-H is a standard technology and has been approved for use in Europe as well.

Modeo and Qualcomm both expect to begin offering their services in the US this year.

In its statement, the Mobile DTV Alliance said there have been 10 DVB-H trials around the globe.

However, in the UK, the spectrum necessary to build the networks is not yet available. Other technologies for delivering mobile TV, including Digital Audio Broadcasting and Digital Multimedia Broadcasting, are being tested and built in Europe.