With the AFL Live Official app growing in popularity, LTE-Broadcast will ensure we make Australia’s best mobile network for streaming even better. At Mobile World Congress, we announced an app update to bring LTE-B tech to Samsung’s Galaxy S8 and S9 phones for AFL viewers.

In 2017 we saw unprecedented demand by sports-mad fans live streaming their favourite sporting games, with the audience subscribing to Telstra’s sporting apps increasing 346 per cent throughout the year to over 1.5 million users.

With more and more people tuning into more games live and unmetered in more places, the AFL Live Official app is now becoming one of the world’s leading examples of real-time sports consumption.

However, with this comes new challenges as the total demand for live sport starts to dominate the traffic on the mobile network. As this trend grows, we run the risk that live sport consumption will impact other users on the network as well as the quality of video streaming as more users have to share a limited amount of network capacity.

We need to find new ways to deliver the content so our customers can continue to have the best streaming experience, both at home and when out and about on their mobile devices.

This is where LTE-Broadcast (or LTE-B) comes in, and we’ve been working with technology partner Ericsson to bring this enhancement to our customers.

What is LTE-Broadcast?

Today when a large group of people in the one area want to watch the same content on their smartphones or tablets at once, individual content streams of data are sent to each individual device (i.e. one to one). With LTE-B, we can send that content via a single stream of data to many mobile users in the one area at once (i.e. one to many).

In this way, we can provide a better quality and more seamless video and audio experience for customers who are all trying to do the same thing at once, even when they are in high traffic areas like in a CBD location, shopping centres, and hospitals or actually at the match itself.

It is a pretty simple concept, but it has the potential to be a game changer for game watching, as it not only frees up network capacity to improve the experience for everyone using it, but it will enable Telstra and our partners to deliver richer video experiences.

It could even be extended to things like software and app updates, emergency alerts, real time traffic and road updates to autonomous cars, and even preloading the most popular new episodes of your favourite TV show ready to watch on the train trip to work.

Coming to the AFL Live Official App in 2018

We’ve been talking about LTE-B with device manufacturers and our technology partners around the world for some time and we have even been core to a world alliance of operators who are aligned with our thinking. We are very pleased to be announcing this week at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona that we are turning on LTE-B functionality on the AFL Live Official app for Telstra customers with select Samsung devices for the 2018 AFL season.

Telstra customers with Samsung S8 and S9 devices can expect to receive the highest quality video and audio experience on the AFL Live Official app, regardless of how many subscribers are watching the game. This will mean these customers are among the first in the world with access to this new network technology, enabling a brilliant and improved seamless streaming experience.

Over the coming months, LTE-B functionality on the AFL Live Official app will be made available exclusively on the Samsung Galaxy S8, S8+, S9 and S9+, with more devices to follow throughout the year.