Category Archives: Networks

Ofcom Launches On-Line Mobile and Broadband Coverage Checker

  • Ofcom launches one-stop checker, using industry speeds and coverage data
  • New study compares performance of UK’s major mobile providers

People and businesses can check the quality and coverage of mobile and broadband services by postcode, using a powerful new interactive tool from Ofcom.

The Mobile and Broadband Checker uses coverage, availability and speeds data, collected directly by Ofcom from major communications providers. This has not been readily accessible to consumers and businesses before.

Simply by entering a postcode, users can check mobile coverage, the availability of superfast broadband and average download speeds – all in one place.

Ofcom’s original Mobile Coverage Checker, launched last year, has had more than 700,000 visits, helping users discover the quality of mobile coverage where they live and work.

The new tool includes latest information on mobile coverage, and adds important statistics on the availability and quality of home and office broadband in a given postcode. It shows:

  • whether superfast broadband services are available;
  • the average download speeds delivered by standard and superfast broadband;[2]
  • where there is coverage for voice calls, and 3G or 4G data networks; and
  • the quality of mobile coverage inside and outside of buildings.

Businesses looking to relocate or expand to new premises, as well as house-hunters, can use the tool to help assess the quality of communications services in different areas.

Similarly, customers looking to upgrade their broadband package can check whether faster services are locally available and, if so, how superfast and standard broadband speeds compare on average.

People and businesses can also investigate whether their existing broadband service is underperforming, by comparing their connection speed against the average for neighbouring properties. This could provide useful evidence when contacting a provider with a service problem.

Sharon White, Ofcom Chief Executive, said: “This interactive map is part of our work to arm people and businesses with high-quality, accessible information, helping them make informed decisions about their communications services.”

The checker is online now at http://www.ofcom.org.uk/check-coverage/

Smartphone cities report

Ofcom has also today published Smartphone Cities, a report comparing the mobile broadband and voice performance of the UK’s four national mobile providers – EE, O2, Three and Vodafone.

Testing was carried out in five cities across the UK – Cardiff, Edinburgh, Liverpool, London and Norwich – between November and December 2015, using the latest available measuring equipment.

To capture a snapshot of ‘real-world’ service quality levels for 4G networks, a range of metrics were measured, reflecting the everyday usage habits of smartphone users.

These included download, upload and web-browsing speeds, video streaming quality, and phone call success rates.

The report is available to download from the Ofcom website.

Source: Ofcom

Co-Star Enhance the Network Coverage of Swiss Avalanche Mountain Rescue Teams Comm’s Equipment

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Co-Star have helped to enhancing the critical cellular network coverage of an avalanche rescue team based in Meilen Switzerland by suppling a Panorama WM11-DBOX wall mounted antenna.

The WM11-DBOX is a high gain, directional antenna that provides a simple, cost effective way of improving the range of a GSM or 3G networks by transferring high network coverage from the outside of a building to the inside. It can also be used to ensure better connections between machines by offering improved antenna positioning.3G signal is often affected by structural factors resulting in low signal inside buildings. This multiband, ultra high gain panel antenna transmits the 3G signal in the direction of the nearest base station to ensure optimum signal strength.

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Designed for mounting on a wall or mast, the WM11-DBOX antenna is waterproof and UV stabilised to withstand the harsh weather conditions in the Swiss Alps.

The antenna comes complete with two ultra low loss coaxial cable extensions (2 meter & 10 meter) which are designed to minimise any signal loss and are terminated with SMA connectors which are the most common RF connectors for mobile communications equipment.

About Co-Star: Co-Star are a global distributor to the mobile communications industry based in Harrogate UK. Our product range includes: Antennas, Wireless Routers, Coaxial cable assemblies and installation consumables.

For more information on the Avalanche rescue team please click here>

Source: Co-Star

 

 

EE to unveil a host of updated features for EE TV

EE-log-Nov-2014

NEW FEATURES OFFER EE TV USERS THE ULTIMATE PERSONALISED TV EXPERIENCE

NEW FEATURES OFFER EE TV USERS THE ULTIMATE PERSONALISED TV EXPERIENCE

 

  • EE Updated features help customers find, record and watch their favourite content more easily than ever
  • New app features, including Companion Screen and social sharing, reaffirm EE TV as the UK’s only mobile-first TV service
  • New ‘Fetch’ feature allows users to take their TV viewing with them around the home
  • ‘MUBI’ as well as a host of international channels to be added to EE TV’s content offering

EE, the UK’s most advanced digital communications company, today unveiled a host of updated features for EE TV due to launch on the 25th August for new and existing customers. Focused on personalisation and social sharing, the new additions have been developed with mobile front of mind. Building on EE TV’s original features, the latest software update allows users to create a truly personalised TV experience controlled through their phone or tablet.

My TV

The all new ‘My TV’ section is a new feature available via the app’s Home menu. The service is designed to provide a completely personalised TV experience for each individual user and is divided into three sections: My Programmes, My Channels and My Photos & Videos.

The first two sections allow each user to select their favourite TV shows or channels, and quickly identify exactly what content is available for them to enjoy there and then. In addition to live programming, the feature will also give instant access to any recordings of the user’s favourites, collating all relevant programmes in one convenient place. With another press of a button this content can quickly be sorted by watched/unwatched, channel, alphabetical, date and category – so it’s never been easier to find and enjoy all your favourite shows.

With My Photos & Videos, customers can view all content stored on their device via the EE TV app. They can then use EE TV’s innovative Flick feature to send it straight to their TV – perfect for sharing photos and videos with friends and family on bigger screen.

Fetch

One of the most popular features among EE TV fans is the innovative Flick function, which allows users to send content from their mobile device to their TV with a single swipe of a finger. Building on the Flick feature, the latest update also includes Fetch, allowing customers to bring content from the main TV screen directly onto their mobile device. Compatible with live TV, recordings, Restart and Replay, the new feature is perfect if customers want to leave the room and continue watching their show in another part of the house, without disturbing what’s on the TV screen.

Companion Screen and Share

A new Companion Screen, available via the EE TV app, gives customers total control of the show that they’re watching, as well as providing a variety of additional information. The second screen experience is available for all content – other than apps and on-demand – and includes playback and volume controls, as well as a scrolling progress bar. The Companion Screen also makes it more convenient to record the programmes that are currently on screen, as well as other shows in the series.

For the first time, the EE TV app also includes a Share button via the Companion Screen. [Available for all live, recorded, Replay and Restart content,] the new feature allows users to share details of what they’re watching through a range of social media options. Once selected, a pop-up will be presented, along with a predefined and editable message that automatically includes a reference to the show on screen, which can then be shared on all popular social media platforms.

Improved search and navigation

The latest update also includes significant improvements to navigation on mobile devices, as well as delivering powerful search capability on both the set top box and the app. It’s now easier to find specific programmes across a range of live, future and recorded content, with results collated in one place and easily arranged.

Great New Channels

EE TV will also be offering new content applications in September to complement its existing mix of live and recorded Free Channels, On Demand and Catch Up services. The move forms part of EE’s commitment to continue evolving EE TV with new features and content over time.

These include MUBI, which offers cult, classic, and award-winning films from around the world for just £4.99 a month – including Superbad, The September Issue, Half Nelson, Moon and Lost in Translation, which will be available to watch from September onwards for 30 days. Plus EE TV customers can try MUBI for 1 month for free.

EE TV customers will also soon be able to access a huge range of international and foreign language TV apps (many of which are free!) including; France 24, Cinefun TV, Brazil TV and CaribBe TV. Featuring over 100 channels from over 20 international regions including; France, Middle East, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Brazil, Caribbean and loads more.

Simeon Bird, Director of Home Broadband & TV, EE said: “EE TV received outstanding reviews at launch, however we will continue to use our unrivalled knowledge of mobile behaviour in order to update and enhance the service over time. The new EE TV features take the personalisation capability that all smartphone and tablet owners are familiar with, and incorporates it to create what we believe is the best multi-screen TV service available today.”

For more information including full terms and conditions for EE TV, please visit www.ee.co.uk/eetv.

Source: EE

 

 

 

Ofcom boosts BT’s EE takeover bid; sees Hutch/O2 deal as potential stumbling block

BT-logo

BT’s proposed £12.5 billion takeover of EE received a boost from UK watchdog Ofcom after the regulator submitted a report to the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) supporting the merger.
Ofcom, which does not have direct authority to approve the deal, advised the competition authority that concerns raised by rivals over the combined entities’ power did not merit intervention.

Within the 69 page submission, Ofcom further highlighted its own powers to deal with BT’s EE-log-Nov-2014potential dominance, as it seeks to combine its broadband business with EE, UK’s largest mobile player.

“We believe the current and future proposed regulation that we apply to BT will limit BT’s ability to discriminate over price, quality and innovation in the provision of leased lines,” Ofcom said.

Mobile rivals in the UK have claimed they will struggle to meet capacity demands as a result of the deal, and there are further fears over the large share of mobile airwaves a combined BT and EE will have at their disposal.

Ofcom dismissed the concerns, stating “that even though the addition of BT’s spectrum may increase the peak speeds BT/EE could offer, on its own EE is already able to provide higher peak speeds than other MNOs”.

“For potential advantages in terms of WiFi hotspots, access to backhaul and opportunities for cross selling and bundling, we do not consider these are sufficient to create competition concerns.”

In the fixed space, rivals including Sky and TalkTalk claim the combined entity would be able to undercut its services, limit the market’s MVNO options and impact backhaul supply.

“We recognise that, as a vertically integrated firm, BT may have the incentive to discriminate in favour of its downstream divisions, and we impose regulation to address such concerns,” added Ofcom.

Ofcom said last month it was seeking views on whether BT and its Openreach networking division should be separated “to deliver competition or wider benefits to the end user”.

Hutch/O2
Ofcom also drew on Hutchison’s proposed merger with O2 within the report, which could prove to be a stumbling block

The proposed deal is set to be scrutinised by European regulators and Ofcom said “the importance of BT as an independent competitor could depend on the outcome of the proposed Hutchison, O2 merger”.

If Hutchison’s deal to acquire O2 goes through, It would serve to reduce the UK market to three players, adding weight to the argument to keep EE and BT separate, as BT already operates in the mobile space.

Source: Mobile Word Live-Kavit Majithia

Vodafone to offer fixed line and broadband services in UK

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MILLIONS OF VODAFONE CUSTOMERS ACROSS THE UK NOW ELIGIBLE FOR VODAFONE BROADBAND AND HOME PHONE SERVICES

  • Vodafone Broadband delivers high speed broadband and home phone services
  • Roll out to existing Vodafone UK customers across the country starts today
  • Competitive packages, with broadband speeds up to 76Mbps available
  • Innovative Vodafone router and mobile app will provide seamless control in the home
  • Easy Switching service to provide customers with hassle-free broadband set-up

 Vodafone UK today launches its broadband and home phone services to millions of its customers across the UK, ensuring its customers will always be connected, both at home and on the go.

Available at speeds up to 76 Mbps, Vodafone’s nationwide fibre optic, business-grade network reaches exchanges which pass around 22 million premises across the UK. Combined with the plug-and-play Vodafone router, the service delivers speed, reliability, unlimited data and cutting-edge features which let customers share, stream and shop to their hearts’ content.

The innovative Vodafone Connect mobile app, coupled with the router, offers a range of features which give customers greater control over the devices in the home: ‘Boost’ allows customers to supercharge any device connected to their home network, giving that device priority over others; ‘Beam’, which uses Beamforming technology, focuses Wi-Fi signal to compatible devices wherever they are in the home; ‘Family Time’ allows customers to easily manage and set time limits, giving them control over when Wi-Fi is available and when it’s not;  or  ‘Guest Wi-Fi’ allows controlled Wi-Fi access to household guests in one click.

Whether customers choose Superfast Fibre+ Broadband (up to 76 Mbps), Superfast Fibre Broadband (up to 38 Mbps) or Broadband ADSL (up to 17 Mbps), Vodafone will thank its customers for their loyalty by giving them £5 off the standard broadband price every month and for the first 12 months it will be further discounted to half price – making it one of the best value broadband and home phone packages in the UK. Vodafone Red (pay monthly mobile) customers will also get inclusive calls anytime to landlines, plus 300 free minutes to mobile numbers. And every customer gets inclusive evening and weekend calls, plus discounted Sure Signal units to boost mobile coverage indoors if necessary.

We’ll also take the hassle out of switching broadband provider with our Easy Switching service. Once a customer decides to order Vodafone Broadband, and has informed their provider where required, our switching experts will coordinate everything: from transferring the service from the old provider; to setting up the connection with us and ensuring everything is working as it should be.

This launch builds on the success of Vodafone’s fixed broadband services across 12 countries in Europe, where we are one of the largest providers with more than 11 million subscribers and our experience as the leader in unified communications to the UK business sector.

Jeroen Hoencamp, CEO of Vodafone UK said: “We have had great feedback on our broadband service from the customers involved in our regional launch.  We are really pleased that they are finding the speeds as fast as they hoped for, while the Vodafone Connect companion app gives them an unprecedented level of control over their devices.  We are looking forward to many other customers taking us up on our great offer and joining us on our journey to be the UK’s leading providers of entertainment services.”

Cindy Rose, Consumer Director at Vodafone UK said: “We started our broadband journey with an exclusive offer available only to a few Vodafone customers. We have now extended this to all of our millions of customers as our way of saying thank you for their loyalty. We know our customers depend on us to stay connected, and now we can satisfy their needs both at home and on the go.”

Vodafone’s market leading Vodafone Connect router will be provided free to customers. High-spec, it utilises the latest Wi-Fi technology, allowing priority to be given to a chosen device – supercharging Wi-Fi for seamless video streaming and gaming.

Vodafone will add broadband and home phone services to their mobile package, presenting one bill to customers covering all services – home phone, mobile and broadband.

Key features of the Vodafone Connect router and Vodafone Connect companion mobile app

Vodafone Connect companion app manages the router by mobile device  – allowing customers to change the Wi-Fi password, control features like ‘Boost’ and ‘Beam’ as well as controlling who’s connected to the network and for how long, through features like ‘Guest Wi-Fi’ and ‘Family Time’.  The Vodafone Connect companion app is available for iOS and Android.  Feature specifics, when coupled with the router, include:

 ‘Boost’ can supercharge your connected devices – Boost lets customers prioritise Wi-Fi speeds to a chosen device for up to 2 hours, giving that device priority over others within the home – perfect for quickly downloading a video to a smartphone or tablet before setting off.

  • ‘Beam’ focuses the Wi-Fi signal right where it’s needed most – Beam, which uses Beamforming technology, focusing the  Wi-Fi signal to compatible devices wherever they are in the home, even in those hard to reach corners of the house.
  • Stay in control with ‘Family Time’ – which allows customers to easily manage and set time limits, giving them control over when Wi-Fi is available and when it’s not.

 

 Source: Vodafone

Nokia & Alcatel-Lucent combine to accelerate development of future technologies

alcatel-logonokia-logo

Nokia has agreed to combine with Alcatel-Lucent in an all-share public exchange offer in France and the United States.

With more than 40,000 R&D employees and spend of EUR 4.7 billion in R&D in 2014, the combined company will be in a position to accelerate development of future technologies including 5G, IP and software-defined networking, cloud, analytics as well as sensors and imaging.

Alcatel-Lucent and Nokia have highly complementary portfolios and geographies, with particular strength in the United States, China, Europe and Asia-Pacific. They will also bring together the best of fixed and mobile broadband, IP routing, core networks, cloud applications and services. This combination is expected to create access to an expanded addressable market with improved long term growth opportunities.

Each company’s Board of Directors has approved the terms of the proposed transaction, which is expected to close in the first half of 2016. The proposed transaction is subject to approval by Nokia’s shareholders, completion of relevant works council consultations, receipt of regulatory approvals and other customary conditions.

Source: Nokia

Nokia Networks use drones to test network performance

Nokia Networks, du deploy drones to test network performance


Nokia drone resize

Nokia Networks and Middle Eastern operator du announced a joint initiative to deploy drones carrying smartphones with testing applications as a way to analyse the operator’s network performance.

The move, described in a statement as “another noteworthy step toward a smart city future”, saw the companies carry out the tests at Dubai International Stadium, using drones to gather network data based on network speed and to analyse efficient network optimisation actions.

Nokia Networks said automated testing and analysis through drones proved more efficient than traditional manual testing, as they can cover a wider surface area quicker.

Once the testing was completed, the data was collected automatically and sent to a server so it could be instantly processed at Nokia Networks’ Global Delivery Centre for immediate reporting, and advise on any actions needed to improve network performance.

According to the companies, drones can also be used to limit the number of times technicians need to climb up and down a telecoms tower, helping to supervise the quality of the initial installation by remote monitoring through wireless video stream.

During the tests, telco drones were also used for radio planning and Line of Sight (LoS) testing between radio towers.

“In the telecoms sector, certain operators have already embraced the use of drones for tower audits, and we are proud to be able to demonstrate multiple use cases of using drones with du in the UAE,” said Tony Awad, head of du customer team at Nokia Networks. “With the use of drones, we continue to bring innovation and automation into our service delivery to make our networks even more efficient and reliable.

Both Google and Facebook have touted the validity of using drones to provide internet connectivity in hard to reach places over the past year, and the internet giants have invested heavily in the initiative, with tests flights reportedly underway.

However, the idea that drones could deliver internet connectivity has been met with some scepticism, particularly by Alcatel-Lucent, after CTO Marcus Weldon said that while drones and balloons contain “fascinating research ideas”, they were “much more of a band aid solution”.

While Nokia Networks and du are testing connectivity of the operator’s network at this stage, Awad added that “drones are becoming a common phenomenon across the world and multiple sectors are embracing the benefits it can bring”.

Source: Mobile World Live – Kavit Majithia

Glastonbury Revellers download eight terabytes of data via EE’s 4G network

The 4GEE Charging Bull
  • Revellers downloaded a whopping eight terabytes worth of data via EE’s powerful 4G network at Glastonbury Festival – the equivalent of more than two million Lionel Richie songs
  • Uploads from Worthy Farm more than doubled this year, with the data equivalent of three million images uploaded on social networks in 2015
  • EE’s official Glastonbury app saw over three million launches as revellers logged on to check set times, create their personal line ups, drop location pins and listen to Deezer clips of the weekend’s artists
  • The EE Power Bar swapping service was a huge success – average queuing time was kept to two minutes per swap all weekend meaning people had more time to catch all the performances and non-stop entertainment at Glastonbury

Glastonbury Festival’s official technology and communications partner EE pulled out all the stops to ensure they delivered the most connected festival experience yet.

 

EE’s 4G Network

The world’s largest temporary 4G network, built for Glastonbury by the EE Special Projects team, was put through its paces for the week. With more 4G users than ever before, last year’s data total was smashed by Thursday night – before the main stages had even opened.

In total, festival-goers downloaded a total of eight terabytes of data on 4G in 2015, equivalent to more than two million downloads of Lionel Richie’s Hello. Customers also uploaded three terabytes of 4G data – around four million envy-inducing posts to Facebook, Instagram and Twitter feeds from the Festival.

Phone calls were more reliable than ever before at Glastonbury, with 97.55% of calls going through.

 

EE’s Official Glastonbury 2015 App

The official Glastonbury 2015 app, developed in partnership with EE saw over three million launches over the weekend as revellers logged on to check on the latest Festival news, find where they were, stay connected with their friends on site, check set times and live stream the BBC’s coverage.

·         Over 50,000 festival goers connected to Facebook to share their chosen line up with their friends

·         2.6 million acts were favourited as those on site used the app to plan their personal festival line up, with Florence and The Machine, Lionel Richie and George Ezra proving most popular

·         Over 32,000 users dropped pins over the weekend in a bid not to lose their tent, car or friends

·         Over 475,000 Deezer clips of Festival artists were played over the weekend through the app, with Alabama Shakes, The Who and James Bay taking the top spots

 

Top 10 favourited acts at Glastonbury 2015:

1.    Florence and the Machine

2.    Lionel Richie

3.    George Ezra

4.    The Who

5.    Kanye West

6.    Pharrell Williams

7.    Hozier

8.    Alt-J

9.    The Chemical Brothers

10.  Ben Howard

 

Top 10 Deezer clips via the official Glastonbury 2015 app:

1.    Alabama Shakes

2.    The Who

3.    James Bay

4.    Catfish and the Bottlemen

5.    Rudimental

6.    Kanye West

7.    Alt-J

8.    Mary J. Blige

9.    The Vaccines

10.  The Chemical Brothers

 

EE Power Bar Exchange

EE also kept festival goers connected with two Power Bar Exchange points on site this year, which met the digital demands of this year’s festival goers by offering Power Bar swaps. The EE Power Bar – an easy-to-use portable phone charger and queue-busting alternative to traditional charging – enabled users to charge their phone on the go with the bar and then, once it ran out of juice, simply swap it for a fully charged one at the designated Exchange sites. Average queuing time at the Exchange sites was kept at 2 minutes per swap which meant revelers had more time to enjoy the music and entertainment on offer at the festival.

For more information on EE’s partnership with the Glastonbury Festival, please visitee.co.uk/Glastonbury.

Source: EE

Eu agrees end date for roaming

European_Union

EU agrees end date for roaming, backs net neutrality


The European Union finally reached a deal that will see the end of roaming charges in June 2017, as well as enshrining net neutrality rules.

A compromise was agreed between the European Commission, European Parliament and the Council of the EU, following sometimes fraught negotiation.

The measures will be delivered via an overhaul of EU telecoms rules in 2016, which will also include proposals to more effectively co-ordinate spectrum across the EU.

“Europeans have been calling and waiting for the end of roaming charges as well as for net neutrality rules. They have been heard. We still have a lot of work ahead of us to create a Digital Single Market,” said Andrus Ansip, commission vice-president for the digital single market.

Over past months, Ansip has not always seemed so positive. Back in March, he described a compromise proposal from the Council on roaming as “a joke”. Now the sides have found common ground.

Under the agreement, roaming charges will cease in the EU as of 15 June 2017. Consumers will pay the same price for calls, texts and mobile data wherever they are in the EU.

However, there will be rules to prevent abuses of the new set-up. For example,  if a user buys SIM card in another EU country where domestic prices are lower and then uses it at home. Or if a user permanently stays abroad with a domestic subscription from their home country. These instances are “permanent roaming” and could impact domestic markets negatively, said the commission.

Hence, the compromise includes a fair-usage safeguard against permanent roaming. Once a limit is reached when a user is abroad then operators can charge them a small fee. However, this fee will be much lower than current capped roaming charges. The commission will define what is the fair use limit.

In the meantime, this summer’s retail roaming caps will stay the same as they have been since 1 July 2014. From April 2016, roaming will cost less as operators will only be able to charge a small additional amount to domestic prices of up to €0.05 per minute on calls, €0.02 per SMS, and €0.05 per MB of data (excluding tax). This maximum roaming charge is about 75 per cent cheaper than current roaming caps for calls and data, the commission said.

Net neutrality
The agreement also enshrines net neutrality into EU law for the first time. Users will be free to access the internet, without being unfairly blocked or slowed down, and paid prioritisation is not allowed.

However, there are exceptions. The commission listed four: the blocking of illegal content; preventing the misuse of networks, for instance viruses, malware or denial of service attacks; filtering spam or allowing parental controls; and finally to minimise network congestion that is “temporary or exceptional”.

The latter exception is worded so an operator cannot invoke “if their network is frequently congested due to under-investment and capacity scarcity”.

The GSMA responded to the deal being reached. “The GSMA appreciates the efforts of the Council of the European Union and European Parliament in concluding the Connected Continent legislation”.

“The clarity resulting from the agreement reduces the regulatory uncertainty for telecommunications companies operating in Europe,” said Afke Schaart, VP Europe, GSMA.

“However, we believe the rules agreed today are not sufficient to help Europe address the region’s growth and competitiveness challenges. To realise the vision laid down in the Digital Single Market Strategy, much more needs to be done.”

Source: Richard Handford Mobile World Live

EE ramps up LTE Broadcast efforts


EE Trials 4G Broadcast for FA Cup Final at Wembley Stadium, connected by EE

UK operator EE is gearing up to push its LTE Broadcast service live next year after a successful trial at Wembley Stadium last weekend, predicting that by 2019 the technology will be the sole driver of live TV content delivered over its network.

Following a trial at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow last year, EE demoed LTE Broadcast services to a small group of selected users (approximately 20 tablet devices) at the FA Cup Final two days ago.

Viewers were able to select multiple camera angles, access real-time match statistics and watch HD-quality replays of the action (on-demand) within a minute of events happening on the pitch. The trial was the latest tech development by EE at Wembley Stadium, which it has dubbed “the mothership” of its national 4G network.

EE is keeping its cards close to its chest in terms of specific timeframes for next steps, but a statement from the operator says it “intends to build the 4G Broadcast capability into its network in 2016.”

LTE-Broadcast is being pitched by operators such as EE, Telstra and Verizon Wireless as a cost-effective way to provide TV and video content in crowded areas that would normally suffer problems with pixellation or buffering due to network congestion. Unlike traditional unicast mobile streaming, which sends content from the network to each individual user as they demand it, LTE Broadcast (also known as eMBMS) makes the same live video content available to everyone in the same location, connecting any number of people all at the same time.

US operator Verizon Wireless has commercially launched the technology via a partnership with motor racing series Indycar, and EE says it is preparing for its own commercial deployment. “The next time we do something it will be a live deployment that will stay and then we can move on to light up the next area,” Matt Stagg, head of video at EE, told Mobile World Live. “Anywhere we light up next year for event or capacity reasons will stay.”

ee4Stagg noted that its LTE Broadcast services won’t be restricted to stadia, instead offering a cost-effective way to support video delivery in any high traffic area.

Of course, as with any new technology, there are major challenges to overcome. There are only a handful of devices currently available that support LTE-Broadcast technology, as well as issues around content rights. And there’s a big question mark over the business model behind the service; after all, watching a 90-minute football match will consume a huge amount of data that has to be paid for in some way.

“The technology is great as underlined by the numerous successful trials but the lack of actual commercial deployments demonstrates the uncertainty around the business model,” commented CCS Insight analyst Paolo Pescatore. “There is no doubt that LTE Broadcast will be a useful tool in overcoming network congestion and coping with the explosion in video traffic. It provides sports fans with a great second screen experience, but it is unclear whether they will pay for it; it’s too early to say. As a result, operators are probably unwilling to invest millions in upgrading their networks. The most likely scenario would be joint investment with a venue owner or content owner to share the financial risk which reinforces the clear use case that is emerging.”

EE’s Stagg is, unsurprisingly, upbeat, claiming his company’s progress so far is evidence that this form of mobile TV distribution – unlike previous ill-fated technologies such as DVB-H and MediaFlo – will succeed.

“Once we move through 2017 and we get organic growth… then we will start to do the other things eMBMS is good for – things like pushing software updates for mass downloads for the internet of things. By 2019 on our network there will be no live or linear tv that isn’t [LTE] Broadcast.”

Source: Justin Springham. Mobile World Live