Nokia Experimenting With LTE TV Broadcasting in Germany

Wireless carriers are not only interested in broadcast spectrum, we've seen lately they are also quite interested in broadcasting content using eMBMS (evolved Multimedia Broadcast/Multicast Service), also known as LTE Broadcast. I've reported on tests and trials in several countries, including the United States.

Nokia started transmitting eMBMS in Munich, Germany in early July using eMBMS software running on Nokia Flexi Multiradio 10 Base Stations. The Nokia LTE equipment is deployed at four of the Bavarian broadcast company Bayerischer Rundfunk sites in northern Munich. Nokia claimed this is “the world’s first field trial of wide-area TV broadcasting using a single LTE frequency within UHF spectrum.” A single frequency network allows all base stations to use the same frequency when transmitting TV content, maximizing the number of simultaneous channels that can be broadcast over a large geographical area in a given amount of spectrum.

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

The Nokia Networks news release says, “LTE Broadcast technology promises new revenue sources for operators by distributing TV over existing mobile broadband infrastructure. Subscribers would be able to watch TV on their devices without eating into their mobile data plan and independent of network load. LTE Broadcast allows for a free-to air or pay TV service that can be received by anybody with a suitable device, similar to traditional TV broadcasting. Broadcasters and content providers could extend their reach to mobile users and open the door for a multitude of interactive services.”

Doug Lung is one of America's foremost authorities on broadcast RF technology. He has been with NBC since 1985 and is currently vice president of broadcast technology for NBC/Telemundo stations.