|3 Takes Australia’s First Peek at New Mobile TV Technology with Ericsson|
In the first of its kind in Australia, 3 has been trialling new mobile TV technology with Ericsson which could see an expanded, higher quality mobile TV service on 3. The new technology is called MBMS - Multimedia Broadcast Multicast Service - which works on 3G networks.
"Our customers like to watch mobile TV, whether it's dipping into a news program or watching the cricket live, and we’re always interested in looking at new technology to improve their experience," said Michael Young, Director Technology & Services, 3.
MBMS is different to the way mobile TV is available in Australia today because it uses two ways to bring TV programs to the mobile - broadcast and unicast - which will help deliver a better viewing experience. It also allows consumers to interact with their favourite mobile TV programs through voting, in program messages, on the spot downloads of related content like ringtones and games and special promotions from advertisers. MBMS is being developed as part of global 3G standards.
Although a new mobile TV technology, MBMS uses existing 3G networks and spectrum for content delivery, building on existing infrastructure. To deliver MBMS, upgrades are made to the existing network as well as content and broadcast servers. 3G mobile phones with support for MBMS are expected to be available in 2008.
"MBMS as part of the 3G evolution is an attractive technology not only because of its flexibility and efficiency, but because it's quick and easy to deploy and leverages existing infrastructure," said Kursten Leins, Strategic Marketing Manager - Multimedia, Ericsson. "MBMS allows an unlimited number of users to watch the same mobile TV program at the same time in the same area, as well as enabling valuable user interaction with advertisements, campaigns and programs."
The technical trial was held in 3's Sydney Head office over 6 weeks and run by Ericsson who developed the trial system. Using four specially designed prototype handsets, Ericsson also installed equipment to simulate the content and broadcast servers on a section of 3's network so the customer and network experience could be seen.
"We are very happy with the trial - the technology worked well and apart from delivering a good customer experience, it's extremely efficient in terms of network traffic and capacity, and provides new levels of customer involvement with their programs," said Mr Young.
"3 pioneered 3G in Australia, so it was a great opportunity to see the country's first MBMS technology trial run on Australia's first 3G network," Mr Leins added.
Since the MBMS signal can be pin pointed to specific geographies, it's also possible to broadcast different mobile TV programs to different areas, giving a locally-specific customer experience and also providing highly targeted mobile advertising opportunities.
"The trial has been very interesting, and we'll continue to work with Ericsson to keep a close eye on the technology and the handsets to support MBMS as they develop," Mr Young added.