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World’s first wide-scale 700MHz LTE Broadcast trial launched in Munich

Hossein Moiin

Hossein Moiin

Nokia Networks has announced what it says will be the world’s first field trial of wide-area LTE Broadcast technology, using a single LTE frequency within the UHF spectrum in Munich, Germany.

According to the Espoo, Finland-based technology provider, the single frequency network (SFN)-based trial will see all base stations use exactly the same frequency to transmit TV content, which maximises the number of simultaneous TV channels broadcast over a large geographical area in a given amount of spectrum.

According to Nokia Networks, the use of LTE Broadcast will enable users to watch TV without eating into their mobile data plan and will be independent of network load.

Trials of LTE Broadcast have hitherto been focused on contained locations including stadiums and concert halls for limited periods. The Munich trial is the first to use the 700MHz UHF spectrum currently used for digital-terrestrial broadcasting to deliver services over a 200-squared kilometre area.

The trial, which began transmissions in early July, uses evolved Multimedia Broadcast/Multicast Service (eMBMS) software running in Nokia Flexi Multiradio 10 Base Stations. The Nokia LTE equipment is deployed at four sites of the Bavarian broadcast company, Bayerischer Rundfunk, in Northern Munich. The sites are connected by a high performance optical transport network.

According to the company, the SFN has been optimized for tighter synchronization of neighbouring cells to minimise interference.

According to Nokia Networks, the trial aims to show that LTE could be used to complement or provide an alternative for regional TV distribution alongside DVB-T.

“Today, when watching videos over a mobile network, the content is individually streamed to each user. With LTE Broadcast the same signal is received by many users at the same time, resulting in more efficient capacity and spectrum use,” said Hossein Moiin, chief technology officer, Nokia Networks.

“Spectrum doesn’t need to be dedicated to either broadcast or broadband, but can be used flexibly for both according to users’ needs. We believe that LTE Broadcast is a technology well suited to distribute TV and broadcast services and will help us expand the benefits of mobile internet to everyone while evolving the TV viewing experience.”