Friday 22 December 2023

5G Broadcast - Ready For Global Launch 2024

The Universal Radio and Television Mobility Platform 

 The LTE-based 5G Terrestrial Broadcast System or ”5G Broadcast” might soon disrupt and replace terrestrial digital broadcasting models as DVB-T2 and DAB writes the Public Service Council (Sweden) in a report.

In 2024 there are 7 billion smartphones in the world. Global 5G mobile subscriptions are projected to reach 1.6 billion by the end of 2023. The smartphone is a versatile communication tool. More than previously anticipated it is now becoming the most important platform for radio and television listening and viewing. Video and audio streaming (including radio and television channels) is now taking approximately 75% of the global Internet capacity.

Media content is increasingly being delivered on Internet via fixed line and mobile IP networks. Audiences on the move will consume OTT (Over-the-top) broadband media. OTT as a platform for radio and television already is outpacing DTT (DVB-T2) and DAB-radio via smartphones and Connected Cars via fixed and mobile broadband as well WiFi access. 

The telecom industry values the UHF band 470–694 MHz as ideal to expand their mobile services. However, at the ITU conference WRC-23 in Dubai the broadcasting sector managed to retain its primary allocation in the UHF band for Region 1 (Europe, Africa and the Middle East) for at least another decade.  Broadcasters and broadcast providers will now be able to launch 5G Broadcast on a global scale already in 2024.

There are good arguments for 5G terrestrial broadcasting as well as 5G Broadband. Emergency alert systems are crucial elements to reach out to the population before, during and after an emergency, crisis, or catastrophe. In principle, both broadcast and mobile networks can be used to convey messages and relevant information.

Still, broadcast providers might team with broadcasters to develop 5G Broadcast. This must be done as the smartphone is becoming the major portable device for broadcast television as well as for radio listening. Smartphones are not and will probably never be developed for DVB or DAB reception. In any case we should anticipate that both broadcast providers and the telecom companies now will invest heavily in 5G broadcasting technology.

Why 5G Broadcast?

5G Broadcast combines broadcast and unicast technologies, not only promoting a free and better user experience on mobile devices but also a more efficient use of the spectrum. 5G Broadcast has the potential to offer several advantages over traditional broadcasting systems when it comes to distribution quality and choice.

Firstly, 5G Broadcast can deliver higher quality video and audio content than traditional broadcasting systems, as it has more available bandwidth to transmit the content. This means that users can experience better picture quality, sound quality, and overall viewing experience.

Secondly, 5G Broadcast can offer more choice to users, as it can support a wider range of content formats, including 4K and 8K Ultra HD, Virtual Reality (VR), and Augmented Reality (AR) content. In addition, 5G Broadcast can also enable personalized and interactive services, such as targeted advertising, recommendation engines, and interactive features.

Thirdly, 5G Broadcast can offer more flexibility and scalability than traditional broadcasting systems, as it can be adapted to different use cases and scenarios. For example, it can be used to deliver live events and sports matches to large audiences, or it can be used to deliver on-demand content to individual users.

5G Broadcast a game changer for in-car digital radio

5G Broadcast will now become a more qualified choice for in-car terrestrial digital radio together with 4/5G Broadband. Then car manufacturers will have a choice to ignore supplying new cars with DAB+  which have a more limited mobility reach and less robustness as well as less flexibility. Such a choice will be in complete accordance with the European Electronics Communications Code (EECC).

What is 5G Broadcast?

The LTE-based 5G Terrestrial Broadcast System or 5G Broadcast is a global terrestrial broadcast standard whic has been endorsed as a standalone terrestrial broadcast system. It is offering a downlink-only service intended for direct reception by all members of the general public across the service area, including the capability of free-to-air reception.

5G Broadcast technology enables an unlimited number of users to be reached with a single data stream and without any loss of quality). It enables the distribution of linear media content via large radio cells with a radius of up to 60 kilometres. A single data stream is broadcast using a high-tower high-power transmitter as well as low power tower ones. This possibility opens the way to new synergies and different collaborative scenarios between the broadcast and mobile ecosystems.

All mobile devices within the coverage area of such a transmitter can receive the programmes distributed via this data stream. Since the signal is distributed only once to all receiving devices there is no excessive network utilization based on the number of receiving devices per cell and, therefore the quality of the programmes will not be reduced due to many devices.

An aim of 5G Broadcast is to give broadcasters the opportunity to provide linear television for mobile devices as well as for conventional televisions using a single chipset.

With 5G Broadcast it is possible to use the same media formats for media distribution as for content delivery via the internet (OTT). This enables an easy way for seamless switching between distribution channels - e.g. 5G Broadcast and 5G Broadband - and results in the best media experience for the customers at all times.

Another important key feature is the reception of content without need of an internet connection. This Free-To-Air feature is important for public broadcasters which want to reach their customers without any restriction. However, adapted chipsets are required in mobile devices which enable the broadcast reception from HTHPs (high-tower high-power) with SDO (standalone downlink only) technology.

5G Broadcast is a new technology that is still in stages of deployment. While trials and tests are being conducted in more than 20 countries since 2019, commercial deployments of 5G Broadcast are not yet widely available. Trials and tests of 5G Broadcast are being conducted in several other countries, including Austria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Germany, France, Italy Spain, the United Kingdom, the United States, Brazil, Colombia, China, India, South Korea and Australia.

The Global LTE/5G Broadcast Market is expected to be valued at USD $1.8 billion by the end of 2029, growing at a compound annual growth rate of 9.9% from 2021 to 2029, according to a recent study by Adroit Market Research.

Some conclusions

5G Broadcast, together with 5G Broadband, will become a major global platform for digital distribution of radio and television. The gradual transition from today’s systems will take quite some time but it is obvious that major broadcasters must be involved and committed from Day One.

For too long broadcasting and online have been considered in opposition, and not complementary. The option of combining broadcasting and online must be kept to the fore; we must use both broadcast and online technologies in a sustainable and smart way to ensure that PSM (public service media) organizations keep control over future distribution in their own hands, writes Antonio Arcidiacono, EBU Director of Technology & Innovation in a blog essay.

The system has now been on test in several countries for more than five years and is set for operation quite soon. The challenge at the moment is to achieve the win-win situation; to enable a common technical and economic platform in order to merge the interests of the major stakeholders; the broadcasters, the broadcast providers and the telecom industry.  

The market is looking forward to introduction in 2024 of the chip enabling 5G Broadcast reception of radio and television in mobile devices and in-car receivers. Then a 5G Broadcast/5G Broadband success will be a significant boost of consumer value for viewers and listeners world wide. This will involve all three broadcasting sectors; public, commercial and community radio and television.

Read the PSR report

5G Broadcast - the Universal Radio and Television Mobility Platform

Learn more:

5G Broadcast: What can consumers expect?  (Qualcomm blog)

LTE & 5G broadcast market forecast to hit $1.8 billion by 2029 (TelcoNews India)

5G Media2Go - Audiovisual Services for In-Car Infotainment Systems (SWR - Südwestfunk)

TV over Broadcast in Terrestrial Broadcast Networks (5 MAG)

We Must Combine Broadcast and Broadband to Deliver The Future (Antonio Arcidiacono, EBU Director of Technology & Innovation)

5G Broadcast/Multicast infographic (Rohde & Schwarz)

Rundfunk bleibt alleiniger Primärnutzer im UHF-Band (

ITU World Radiocommunication Conference 2023 (WRC-23) -Provisional Final Acts

Austria Opens UHF-Band For 5G Broadcasting 

Public Broadcasters In Six EU Countries Go For 5G Broadcast

Spain again testing 5G Broadcast

Digital terrestrial television in the 5G age (ORS Austria)

Terrestrial TV saved from 2030 cliff edge (Clean Feed)