Orange, O2 and Vodafone have all collaborated to develop a mobile broadcast system, capable of delivering data-intensive services. The new system means users will soon be able watch TV on their handsets.
The multi-operator pilot, which will run for three months commencing in October 2010 in central London and Slough, will assess how mobile broadcast services can be deployed using shared network infrastructure.
Luke Ibbetson, Vodafone Group’s head of technology, research and development said “Based on the results of the pilot, we anticipate being able to offer our consumers through our networks a range of innovative new broadcast services such as mobile TV and intelligent broadcasting that will lead to an enhanced user experience,”.
“By joining our peers in this UK pilot, we expect to be able to explore the potential of delivering broadcast services across available 3G spectrum,” he added.
BBC iPlayer usage statistics reveal that 5 per cent of its streaming is to mobiles. Taking advantage of this recent boom in mobile TV, the three networks aim to deliver the demand for television through existing 3G spectrum.
Integrated Mobile Broadcast, or IMB for short, is not only capable of offering broadcasts to mobile users, it can also deliver on-demand services through 3G.
For users, the adoption of IMB will mean better picture quality compared to TV streamed over existing 3G networks. It also lets operators offer more channels, according to IPWireless, which develops chipsets and software for IMB and, together with Ericsson, is providing the equipment for the trial
“With the strong growth of data traffic on our 3G networks and the mobile industry’s recent support of this high performance broadcast technology, the time is right to move forward with an IMB initiative,” said Mr Ibbetson.
The service is expected to roll out nationwide by 2011.