Verizon: Video is not a money maker for LTE-broadcast

BARCELONA, Spain -- Having equipped its entire nationwide network with LTE-broadcast capability in 2015, Verizon is now saying that delivering video over LTE-broadcast (which the company has dubbed LTE-multicast) has so far not been a big revenue generator for the operator. Instead, a top Verizon (NYSE: VZ) executive said that the company currently sees more potential for LTE multicast to be used for telematics applications such as delivering software upgrades to cars at a dealership.

"We're investment in telematics and enterprise applications because that's where the money is," said Parissa Pandkhou, director of product development at Verizon, at a GSMA/Ericsson LTE-broadcast Forum held here.  

Pandkhou also noted that while the company has been seeding the market with LTE-multicast-capable devices, Apple still does not support it in its iPhones. "We need Apple to come on board," she said.

LTE multicast is considered a much more efficient way to deliver video.  In fact Verizon has said that it takes just three people to have video unicast to their device from same cell site for LTE-multicast technology to be the more efficient option.  

LTE-multicast is based on the evolved Multimedia Broadcast Multicast Service (eMBMS) standard, and it enables the same content to be sent to a large number of subscribers at the same time, resulting in a more efficient use of network resources.

Verizon was an early champion of the LTE multicast technology. In fact, Pandkhou noted that the operator was the second carrier to have a nationwide LTE-multicast footprint.  

AT&T (NYSE: T), meanwhile, has not outfitted its network with the technology. In January 2015, the company used the collegiate national championship football game held at the AT&T Stadium in Dallas as a backdrop for a live demo of the technology and invited members of the media to test it. The operator used 5 MHz of spectrum to deliver two video streams and one data stream.

However, in an interview today with FierceWireless, Tom Keathley, SVP, wireless network architecture and design at AT&T, said that while the operator continues to trial and test the technology, he believes the business case has still not been proven. "We have nothing new to announce," he said.

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