I should probably confess that I would have preferred to spend my time focused the match but last night’s T20 International match had something different on offer – the opportunity to conduct our first stadium trial of LTE Broadcast (LTE-B) technology.
Strictly speaking we should probably call this multicast technology however when no one could quite get used to saying it’s original name “enhanced Multimedia Broadcast Multicast Services”, we went for the easy options and called it LTE-Broadcast.
While I will leave it to the sports writers to analyse the match, I am pleased to announce Telstra successfully completed the trial, allowing us to see how LTE-B works in a stadium environment where many different cells interwork to deliver the signal and how it can enhance spectator enjoyment of a live sporting match.
Thanks to Channel Nine, three steams of dedicated content was seamlessly delivered to a series of LTE-B enabled smartphones, allowing trial participants to browse between live commentary, highlights and stats of the match that was being played before them. While this has the potential to take sporting events to the next level, it also important from a network perspective as it will allow carriers like Telstra to efficiently manage network traffic.
With demand for mobile data continuing to grow and our networks sometimes struggling to maintain a high level of service when a large number of people are gathered in one spot, LTE-B will provide the opportunity to deliver in demand or popular content using one single stream of data. This will then free up the network to deal with general use and allow us to continue to deliver the service our customers expect from us.
Like we saw at the trial, the quality and consistency of the content delivered over LTE-B was the same for all participants. We also saw the first real test of how LTE-B interacts with our current commercial network and how to setup these streams of video end to end from the cameras and content through to the end devices, this is quite a complex set of systems that were stitched together and I am pleased to say it all worked to plan.
While these are exciting and promising results, we still have more to do before we can offer this service to customers. We are taking the results from this trial to continue to refine and improve the service offered, understand the way it interacts with the network and to also investigate what other applications LTE-B can be put to .
I look forward to keeping you updated on our LTE-B developments and how we all can benefit from this amazing technology. I would also like to thank Cricket Australia, Channel Nine, the Melbourne Cricket Club and Samsung for helping us make the trial happen with the support of our network partner Ericsson.
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