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#MWC17: LTE-Broadcast: coming to a device near you

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Posted on February 27, 2017

3 min read

One of the biggest challenges for mobile network operators across the world is how to manage the ever growing demand for data and video. If you think Australians watch a lot of video now or spend all day on their phones – just wait. In fact, by 2020 we expect the number of video streams to more than double but still be streamed at a higher quality.

One of the ways to help manage this demand is through LTE-Broadcast (LTE-B), a solution that is being introduced into wireless operator networks around the world.

So how does LTE-B work?

Consider when you and hundreds or thousands of people near you get a new software upgrade or when you all want to watch a live sporting video stream on your phone. It means a large group of users all want the same content at the same time, which means each individual person in one area will receive an individual stream of data.

With LTE-B we can send a single stream of data with that content to all mobile users in one area at once, as opposed to sending an individual stream to each user. Not only does this free up network capacity for others, but LTE-B users are expected to receive better quality video and audio experience for broadcast content – even in high traffic areas where customers’ video experience may sometimes result in reduced quality.

Makes sense yes? We think so.

Around three years ago we were the first mobile carrier in the world to trial LTE-B live on a commercial network. Nearly one year ago, we co-founded the LTE-B Alliance, which has brought together the industry’s leading players to collaborate on the development of LTE-B and further stimulate momentum in the industry. This week in Barcelona at Mobile World Conference (MWC), the world’s largest mobile conference, the members of the LTE-B Alliance met to share information and promote the adoption of this existing new capability.

In another milestone, today at Mobile World Congress, Telstra announced it would be activating LTE-B right across our mobile network. 99% of Telstra’s 4GX coverage areas are already LTE-B capable, and we are aiming to have nationwide enablement and coverage for LTE-B by 2018.

We’re also working on products to help support this enablement. The roadmap is expected to include 24 x 7 linear streaming, live sports coverage beyond stadiums, pre-loading of popular content, news clips and games highlights. We plan on enabling LTE-B across many devices, and are excited to deliver an enhanced mobile experience to our customers.

Together with Ericsson and The Fox Innovation Lab at 21st Century Fox, Telstra has unveiled a content delivery solution pilot that will pre-load personalised, premium movie content directly onto consumer devices.

The trial, announced at Mobile World Congress, will allow customers who opt into this service to receive notifications when the latest movies that match their interests become available.

This partnership is an opportunity for us to explore new ways of delivering high quality content to our customers; and at the same time use innovative, customer-friendly solutions to achieve network efficiencies. The solution will use Telstra’s Media Optimised Network, including LTE-B capability to pre-position content.

The pilot will kick off today and will last for one month. A closed number of Telstra, Fox and Ericsson customers will obtain a mobile device with a trial app, giving them instant access to blockbuster titles provided by Twentieth Century Fox, in full HD 1080p quality. Following the trial, we will then consider how we bring the best solution and experience to our customers.

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