Monday 4 August 2014

First Wide-scale 700MHz LTE Broadcast Trial Launched

Will broadband operators become also broadcasters?
Nokia Networks (Finland) has announced what it says will be the world’s first field trial of wide-area LTE Broadcast technology, using a single LTE frequency within the UHF spectrum in Munich, Germany. This technology can be used both for radio and for television.

The single frequency network (SFN)-based trial will see all base stations use exactly the same frequency to transmit TV content, which maximises the number of simultaneous TV channels broadcast over a large geographical area in a given amount of spectrum. The use of LTE Broadcast will enable users to watch TV without eating into their mobile data plan and will be independent of network load. 
The Munich trial is the first to use the 700MHz UHF spectrum currently used for digital-terrestrial broadcasting to deliver services over a 200-squared kilometre area.

The trial, which began transmissions in early July, uses evolved Multimedia Broadcast/ Multicast Service (eMBMS) software running in Nokia Flexi Multiradio 10 Base Stations. According to Nokia Networks, the trial aims to show that LTE could be used to complement or provide an alternative for regional TV distribution alongside DVB-T.The field trial is being run together with the Institut für Rundfunktechnik, the research institute of broadcasting companies in Austria, Germany and Switzerland, Bayerischer Rundfunk, and further research partners.

“Today, when watching videos over a mobile network, the content is individually streamed to each user. With LTE Broadcast the same signal is received by many users at the same time, resulting in more efficient capacity and spectrum use,” said Hossein Moiin, chief technology officer, Nokia Networks. “Spectrum doesn’t need to be dedicated to either broadcast or broadband, but can be used flexibly for both according to users’ needs.”

It might be a paradox that the DAB technology was invented in Munich 1985 and now may be challenged by this new technology.

The broadcasters are now moving out of the 700 MHz band in order to give more spectrum to mobile broadband. Several European countries, as Finland and Sweden, have already taken a decision on this. An European Commission recommendation on this is expected in September 2014.