O2, Vodafone, Orange to trial TDD-based mobile TV in UK

The wireless operator community is taking another crack at mobile TV, with a technology that also holds promise for the little used TDD spectrum, which most operators have left gathering spectral dust.

O2, Orange, and Vodafone on Tuesday announced plans to jointly launch a pilot of a 3GPP broadcast system called Integrated Mobile Broadcast (IMB), which will be provided by Ericsson, IPWireless, and Streamezzo.

The pilot will run for three months commencing in October 2010 in central London and Slough, and will specifically address how mobile broadcast services can be deployed using shared network infrastructure.

Plenty of operators have turned their back on Europe’s ‘official’ mobile TV technology, DVB-H, and the proposal has gone the way of video calling at present. But Integrated Mobile Broadcast (IMB), a standardised 3GPP technology recently endorsed by the GSM Association, holds promise as it makes use of the TDD spectrum most operators with 3G licenses already have.

Indeed, 3G TDD spectrum is available to over 150 operators across 60 countries covering more than half a billion subscribers, according to estimates.

According to the three operators, the pilot will demonstrate the capabilities of IMB in delivering both live streaming video and offloading traffic from existing 3G networks by broadcasting and storing content on the device. IPWireless will supply the core 3GPP broadcast technology, Ericsson will provide integration services and a media platform and Streamezzo, recently acquired by Amdocs, will provide the user interface.

“Our experience shows consumers will take advantage of linear broadcast services if the network experience is consistently good,” said Thierry Bonhomme, EVP in charge of networks, carriers and R&D at Orange. “Network capability is key for mobile TV roll-out and IMB will enable more operators to maximize the benefits they get from 3G investments with high quality TV service deployments on an efficient, pragmatic and scalable solution that works from country to country.”

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