Four mobile network operators – Verizon (NYSE: VZ), Telstra, kt and EE – announced the launch of the LTE-Broadcast Alliance, which aims to increase global device support for LTE-Broadcast (LTE-B) services. The goal is to ensure that LTE-B is available in every top- and mid-tier device launched in 2017.
Also known as evolved Multimedia Broadcast Multicast Service (eMBMS), LTE-B enables a mobile operator to send a single stream of data to all mobile users in one area as opposed to sending an individual stream to each user. Supporters say LTE-B can ensure a great customer experience even in areas of highest demands. Sports arenas or stadiums are popular venues for delivering LTE-B services.
"Since 2012, Verizon has been dedicated to LTE-B, and in 2015 achieved commercial availability across our entire 4G LTE network," said Parissa Pandkhou, director of Product Development at Verizon, in a press release. "The LTE-B Alliance will help establish and expand the benefits of the service to other technology segments, increase device penetration, and unearth even more use cases for eMBMS."
Verizon is the only U.S. carrier listed as a member of the alliance at launch, but the group says other mobile network operators, as well as device manufacturers and chipset vendors, are welcome to join.
Verizon has conducted various technology demonstrations to show how LTE-B works around events like the Super Bowl and Indy 500. The carrier first demonstrated LTE Multicast -- the term it has used in referring to LTE-B -- at CES in 2014, and followed that with a showing of the Super Bowl in New York in February 2014. LTE Multicast also has been featured at select IndyCar events and venues.
Last year, AT&T (NYSE: T) used the collegiate national championship football game at AT&T Stadium in Dallas to conduct a live demonstration of LTE-B. During the game, AT&T's LTE broadcast technology delivered replays and video shot from different camera angles to the devices.
South Korea's kt became the first operator in the world to launch a commercial LTE-B service in January 2014. The kt service covers seven baseball stadiums and major subway lines of Seoul and Busan.
The LTE-B Alliance is plans to meet on a quarterly basis to agree on the next steps on development of the technology standards and implementation.
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