Verizon Wireless' (NYSE: VZ) interest in deploying commercial LTE Multicast services has apparently not been lost on Anritsu. The vendor announced that one of its test systems now provides validated eMBMS test cases across spectrum bands for the U.S. market, and it specifically mentioned the system's "unique coverage" in the 700 MHz LTE Band 13 used by Verizon.
Anritsu's ME7834L Protocol Conformance Test (PCT) system, which provides the Band 13 coverage, is a test platform used to verify that LTE terminal and base station signaling communication procedures comply with 3GPP standards. It is used for mobile carrier acceptance tests in North America and Asia.
LTE Multicast (or LTE Broadcast) services are based on evolved Multimedia Broadcast Multicast Services (eMBMS) technology. Anritsu claims it is the "market's leading supplier of the first industry-approved protocol conformance test cases for mobile devices capable of receiving eMBMS broadcasts." The vendor said it recently submitted eMBMS test cases to the Global Certification Forum (GCF) ahead of the group's CAG#39 meeting in Helsinki, Finland, "following an increase in network operator priority to bring this new technology to consumer markets this year."
GCF is an independent certification authority for 3GPP and 3GPP2 wireless devices.
Unlike unicast transmission, LTE Multicast enables content delivery to multiple users simultaneously through a common cellular connection. Vendors and operators are eyeing a host of potential use cases, led primarily by live event streaming and real-time TV streaming. Other possible use cases include delivery of live broadcast and on-device caching for news, stock market reports, weather and sports updates; broadcast radio and music services; and off-peak media delivery, including multimedia as well as software, app and firmware updates.
For its part, Verizon has already conducted a number of tests of LTE Multicast, most recently using the technology during a live broadcast of the Indianapolis 500 car race in May. Verizon Communications CFO Fran Shammo said earlier this year during an investor conference that the technology could open up new revenue streams for Verizon. Those include the ability to sell content rights in terms of hour-long time slots, pay-per-view events or sporting events like the World Cup.
Verizon is already talking to consumer electronics (CE) manufacturers about integrating LTE Multicast with connected TV devices. However, it will be some time before Verizon's customers can take advantage of LTE Multicast, since it requires new chipsets in devices. Shammo said it will take "a year or two before the chipsets are in the handsets and that gets proliferated throughout the marketplace."
Anritsu noted that while U.S. and South Korean operators are expected to lead the way with eMBMS deployments, cellular network operators in Europe and Australia are following the trend with the commencement of live trials.
- see this Anritsu release
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