EE unveiled a new alliance that will see the BT-owned UK mobile operator collaborate with U.S.-based Verizon, Australia's Telstra and Korea Telecom (KT) on the development and promotion of LTE Broadcast technology based on evolved multimedia broadcast multicast service (eMBMS).
The companies said that the primary goal of the alliance is to encourage global support for LTE Broadcast (LTE-B) services from all device makers. At the same time, they see potential for LTE-B as a service platform for the Internet of Things (IoT) as well as for 5G networks.
All four operators are already strong proponents of the service, which enables a mobile operator to send a single stream of data to all mobile users in one area, rather than sending an individual stream to each user. In turn, this supports the growing demands that video usage is now placing on their networks.
KT became the first operator in the world to launch a commercial LTE-B service in January 2014 while Telstra carried out the world's first stadium broadcast using LTE-B in the same month. In the U.S., Verizon has already commercially deployed LTE-B across its nationwide LTE network. In the UK, EE carried out LTE-B trials at the 2015 FA Cup Final at Wembley Stadium, in partnership with the BBC.
In a report in November last year, the Global mobile Suppliers Association (GSA) forecast that the total market for LTE Broadcast services will reach around $14 billion (€12.3 billion) globally by the end of 2020.
According to Matt Stagg, head of video strategy at EE, the company has initially focused its LTE-B efforts on live and linear video and will launch a live service in 2017.
"Now, as part of the LTE-B Alliance, we'll be focused on developing use cases for critical communications services, Internet of Things, and a 5G future. The alliance will provide awareness of the importance of this technology, and ensure that the benefits can be realised as soon as possible," Stagg said.
The nascent LTE-B Alliance plans to meet on a quarterly basis to agree the next steps on development of the technology standards and implementation and is open to other mobile network operators, device manufacturers and chipset makers.
- see the LTE-B Alliance release
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