Russia Joins LTE Broadcast Party

Russian Telco Mobile TeleSystems has successfully completed the country’s first trial of LTE Broadcast with the help of Ericsson and chip maker Qualcomm. The trial took place at MTS’ office in the city of Nizhny Novgorod, distributing video content from Aachen, Germany via Ericsson’s end-to-end LTE Broadcast technology to handsets incorporating Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 810 processor with an integrated X10 LTE modem.

This comes after a spate of successful LTE Broadcast trials across Europe in particular, spearheaded by leading MNOs (Mobile Network Operators) such as Vodafone and EE. Vodafone Spain in May 2015 claimed to be the first to trial LTE Broadcast in that country, offering five alternative streams of Valencia’s home match with Celta at its Estadio Mestalla.

Earlier in February 2015, Vodafone Germany became the first European carrier to conduct live LTE Broadcast trials in collaboration with EricssonQualcomm and Samsung. Again this featured football, taking place at Borussia Mönchengladbach's stadium. Vodafone indicated it will extend these trials to other stadia around Europe.

There has been growing interest not just from mobile operators but also broadcasters, with the BBC in the UK now involved in LTE Broadcast trials. The broadcaster partnered with MNO EE to transmit three streams of the 2015 English football cup final from Wembley stadium, enabling EE subscribers to choose between multiple camera angles and replays rather than having to wait for them to be shown in a single broadcast stream. This differed from many earlier trials by not being confined to transmission within a single venue.

LTE Broadcast enables popular video content to be multicast across a mobile network to selected cells and then broadcast over the Radio Access Network (RAN). It uses Single Frequency Network technology to distribute the signal in this way to an unlimited number of recipients. Users only need an LTE Broadcast app installed on their devices in order to access the service.

During the Russian test, the devices received different video feeds. The necessary features were enabled on the trial devices by the Snapdragon 810 processor with Qualcomm Technologies’ LTE Broadcast solution for the evolved Multimedia Broadcast Multicast Service (eMBMS). The solution included the chipset, broadcast middleware, multimedia services, and a proven interface for LTE Broadcast application development. Additionally, the X10 LTE modem supports up to 450 Mbps download bit rates to enable high resolution 4K streaming for example.

“Consumers want to be able to watch premium high-quality content, such as live sporting events, when and where they wish and MTS will provide the best mobile solution to this need,” said Andrei Ushatskiy, MTS Vice President, Technology and IT.

Jeff Travers, Head of Customer Unit MTS, Ericsson Northern Europe and Central Asia, added: “With video traffic expected to grow by about 60 percent annually until the end of 2020, operators are under increasing pressure to enable their subscribers to enjoy a high-quality video experience anytime, anywhere, while still managing network efficiency and costs. LTE Broadcast is gaining momentum as a perfect method for optimizing LTE spectrum and network resources, offering new revenue models for content delivery.”

LTE Broadcast with SFN in broadcast mode is part of the 3GPP LTE standards series called evolved Multimedia Broadcast Multicast Service (eMBMS). It extends existing LTE/Evolved Packet Core (EPC) systems with point-to-multipoint (PMP) distribution. Ericsson’s implementation of LTE Broadcast supports a range of use cases including live streaming for high demand content like live sports, breaking news and popular TV shows, as well as software updates and emergency broadcasting.

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