February 12, 2007, 8:37 AM — Vendors are lining up at the 3GSM World Congress in Barcelona to show a new mobile TV delivery technology with near-broadcast qualities.
The new technology, called Multimedia Broadcast Multicast Service (MBMS), will allow operators to multicast programs instead of having to establish point-to-point links for each device. As a result, they will be able to meet future demands of mobile TV users during peak live TV broadcasts, such as sporting events and breaking news.
The MBMS system will compete with DMB (Digital Multimedia Broadcasting) and DVB-H (Digital Video Broadcasting - Handheld) technologies, which are designed to broadcast TV signals directly to mobile phones, thus bypassing cellular operators' networks.
Telefonaktiebolaget LM Ericsson will show its MBMS system, which the company expects to be commercially available next year. The system will offer users fast-channel switching, among other features.
Qualcomm Inc. and Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. will jointly demonstrate MBMS. The demonstration will feature a handset equipped with Qualcomm's Mobile Station Modem (MSM7200) chipset receiving TV programs at 256K bps (bits per second) from Huawei's 3G (third-generation) HSPA (High Speed Packet Access) network. The MSM7200 chipset, which is expected to be commercially available in handsets and smart phones in the second quarter of 2007, supports 7.2M bps HSDPA (High Speed Downlink Packet Access) and up to 5.76M bps HSUPA (High Speed Uplink Packet Access) speeds.
MBMS is divided into a bearer and user service. The MBMS bearer service includes a multicast and a broadcast mode. It uses IP (Internet Protocol) multicast addresses for the IP flows. The advantage of the MBMS bearer service compared to legacy 3G bearer services such as streaming is that the transmission resources in the core network and radio network are shared, thus allowing operators to deliver service to an unrestricted number of users.
Mobile TV technology and content are expected to be areas of major focus at the 3GSM World Congress, which runs from Monday through Thursday.