TVB Tech Alert: 3GPP Integrated Mobile Broadcasting Standard

LONDON: A new third-generation standard for mobile broadcasting was ratified this week by the Global System for Mobile Association. The new 3GPP Integrated Mobile Broadcast Standard facilitates mobile broadcasting over different types of cell networks. It allows uninterrupted handover of voice and data transmissions to legacy 3G systems.

IMB allows the use of 1 MB frequencies, now unused by many cellular providers, and it “reuses” aspects of currently deployed technology the GSMA said.

The 3GPP specs and an accompanying white paper gives infrastructure builders and handset manufacturers guidelines for creating common implementations of IMB intended to drive mass adoption. These include video delivery, about which the white paper acknowledges the sluggish start in the cell-phone industry.

“The simplest Mobile TV deployment makes conventional linear TV available to mobile users. Historically, this has been perceived as the driving application for mobile broadcast network capabilities. In reality, the relatively low take-up--in comparison with predictions--points to several obstacles in the mobile environment today.

“Small-scale mobile TV deployments usually start with unicast 3G streaming, but this has been hampered by its large bandwidth consumption and the limitations of unicast networks in simultaneously supporting large numbers of TV viewers. This also has a significant impact on the economics of mobile TV and has further slowed the introduction and take-up of linear TV services.

“IMB addresses these challenges by providing an enhanced user experience across factors such as image quality and channel swap times; and radically improved economics for linear TV broadcastthrough optimized delivery through mobile networks.”

The white paper is available for download from the GSM Web site here.