Telstra and Ericsson launching LTE-B across Australia by 2018

Telstra's LTE-Broadcast network will be progressively rolled out starting this year, ahead of completion in 2018.

Telstra and Ericsson have announced that they will be launching an LTE-Broadcast (LTE-B) network across the country by 2018 using 3GPP standards.

The network, announced during Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona on Monday morning, will be progressively deployed starting in 2017.

As part of the rollout, Ericsson and Expway are working to implement multicast operation on demand (MooD) technology -- which will shift customers between unicast to broadcast transmissions depending on load -- and service continuity between broadcast and unicast coverage areas by November 2017.

According to Telstra, rolling out an LTE-B network will attract and retain customers by differentiating its mobile service offering. LTE-B also reduces network congestion by utilising a constant bitrate data channel.

Telstra Networks group managing director Mike Wright said 99 percent of Telstra's 4GX sites are already LTE-B compatible; however, it is initially available only to customers with compatible Samsung devices.

"Telstra's LTE-B product road map will include 24/7 linear streaming, live sports coverage beyond stadiums, pre-loading of popular content, news clips, and games highlights," Wright added.

"[MooD] technology will be crucial to improving the LTE-B experience for our customers. For instance, when network capacity becomes limited and multiple users are consuming the same content, the MooD capability can shift the transmission to broadcast."

Earlier at MWC on Monday, Telstra and Ericsson also announced their media content-delivery solution with 21st Century Fox, which will send personalised movie content to consumers' devices without impacting device performance or data plans by multi-casting it during off-peak times.

According to Telstra CEO Andrew Penn, the content-delivery solution was designed in response to the increasing uptake of consumers watching entertainment on their smartphones, with Telstra providing its LTE-B and global media network capabilities for the solution.

"Running this pilot in collaboration with innovative partners is a great way for us to test and learn how we can improve the customer experience while at the same time achieving network efficiencies," Penn said.

"The solution will use Telstra's Media Optimised Network, including LTE-B capability, to pre-position content, and therefore have limited impact on overall network traffic with little to no additional infrastructure cost."

The content delivery solution will run as a pilot program for the next month for select Telstra customers through a trial app, alerting them when movies matching their pre-disclosed interests are available. The 1080p media content will then be sent to their devices for purchase or rent, with viewing available both online and offline.

"Essentially, what is happening is we are able to preload and precondition content on a customer's device so that actually, it's available for them when they want to watch it and when they want to see it, whether it's online or offline," Penn said.

"And we can actually do that by multi-casting the content, and we can multi-cast the content at a time when the network is not in significant use, so maybe in the middle of the night."

The solution makes use of Ericsson's cloud-based MediaFirst store for processing and origin of the content; Ericsson's Unified Delivery Network for global content delivery; and Ericsson's MediaFirst TV platform for personalisation of the content.

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