Multimedia Broadcast Multicast Service

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Multimedia Broadcast Multicast Services (MBMS) is a point-to-multipoint interface specification for existing and upcoming 3GPP cellular networks, which is designed to provide efficient delivery of broadcast and multicast services, both within a cell as well as within the core network. For broadcast transmission across multiple cells, it defines transmission via single-frequency network configurations. The specification is referred to as Evolved Multimedia Broadcast Multicast Services (eMBMS) when transmissions are delivered through an LTE (Long Term Evolution) network. eMBMS is also known as LTE Broadcast. [1]

The 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) is a standards organization which develops protocols for mobile telephony. Its best known work is the development and maintenance of:

Cellular network communication network where the last link is wireless

A cellular network or mobile network is a communication network where the last link is wireless. The network is distributed over land areas called "cells", each served by at least one fixed-location transceiver, but more normally, three cell sites or base transceiver stations. These base stations provide the cell with the network coverage which can be used for transmission of voice, data, and other types of content. A cell typically uses a different set of frequencies from neighbouring cells, to avoid interference and provide guaranteed service quality within each cell.

Multicast a computer networking technique for forwarding transmissions from one sender to multiple receivers

In computer networking, multicast is group communication where data transmission is addressed to a group of destination computers simultaneously. Multicast can be one-to-many or many-to-many distribution. Multicast should not be confused with physical layer point-to-multipoint communication.


Target applications include mobile TV and radio broadcasting, live streaming video services, as well as file delivery and emergency alerts.

Questions remain whether the technology is an optimization tool for the operator or if an operator can generate new revenues with it. Several studies have been published on the domain identifying both cost savings and new revenues. [2]


In 2013, [3] Verizon announced that it would launch eMBMS services in 2014, over its nationwide (United States) LTE networks. AT&T subsequently announced plans to use the 700 MHz Lower D and E Block licenses it acquired in 2011 from Qualcomm for an LTE Broadcast service. [4]

In telecommunication, Long-Term Evolution (LTE) is a standard for wireless broadband communication for mobile devices and data terminals, based on the GSM/EDGE and UMTS/HSPA technologies. It increases the capacity and speed using a different radio interface together with core network improvements. The standard is developed by the 3GPP and is specified in its Release 8 document series, with minor enhancements described in Release 9. LTE is the upgrade path for carriers with both GSM/UMTS networks and CDMA2000 networks. The different LTE frequencies and bands used in different countries mean that only multi-band phones are able to use LTE in all countries where it is supported.

AT&T American multinational conglomerate holding company

AT&T Inc. is an American multinational conglomerate holding company headquartered at Whitacre Tower in Downtown Dallas, Texas. It is the world's largest telecommunications company, the largest provider of mobile telephone services, and the largest provider of fixed telephone services in the United States through AT&T Communications. Since June 14, 2018, it is also the parent company of mass media conglomerate WarnerMedia, making it the world's largest media and entertainment company in terms of revenue. As of 2018, AT&T is ranked #9 on the Fortune 500 rankings of the largest United States corporations by total revenue.

Qualcomm American global semiconductor company

Qualcomm Incorporated is an American multinational semiconductor and telecommunications equipment company that designs and markets wireless telecommunications products and services. It derives most of its revenue from chipmaking and the bulk of its profit from patent licensing businesses. The company headquarter is located in San Diego, California, United States, and has 224 worldwide locations. The parent company is Qualcomm Incorporated (Qualcomm), which has a number of wholly owned subsidiaries: Qualcomm CDMA Technologies (QCT) sells all of Qualcomm’s products and services ; Qualcomm Technology Licensing (QTL) is responsible for the patent licensing business; and Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. (QTI) operates nearly all of Qualcomm's R&D activities.

Several major operators worldwide have been lining-up to deploy and test the technology. The frontrunners being Verizon in the United States, [5] Kt and Reliance [6] in Asia, and recently EE [7] and Vodafone in Europe. [8]

KT Corporation South Korean telecommunication service provider

KT Corporation, formerly Korea Telecom, is South Korea's largest telephone company.

Jio Telecommunications network in India

Reliance Jio Infocomm Limited, d/b/a Jio, is an Indian telecommunications services company wholly owned by Reliance Industries and headquartered in Mumbai, Maharashtra, India. It operates a national LTE network with coverage across all 22 telecom circles. It does not offer 2G or 3G service, and instead uses only voice over LTE to provide voice service on its 4G network.

Asia Earths largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the Eastern and Northern Hemispheres

Asia is Earth's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the Eastern and Northern Hemispheres. It shares the continental landmass of Eurasia with the continent of Europe and the continental landmass of Afro-Eurasia with both Europe and Africa. Asia covers an area of 44,579,000 square kilometres (17,212,000 sq mi), about 30% of Earth's total land area and 8.7% of the Earth's total surface area. The continent, which has long been home to the majority of the human population, was the site of many of the first civilizations. Asia is notable for not only its overall large size and population, but also dense and large settlements, as well as vast barely populated regions. Its 4.5 billion people constitute roughly 60% of the world's population.

In January 2014, Korea’s Kt launched the first commercial LTE Broadcast service. [9] The solution includes Kt’s internally developed eMBMS Bearer Service, and Samsung mobile devices fitted with the Expway Middleware as the eMBMS User Service.

Samsung South Korean multinational conglomerate

Samsung is a South Korean multinational conglomerate headquartered in Samsung Town, Seoul. It comprises numerous affiliated businesses, most of them united under the Samsung brand, and is the largest South Korean chaebol.

In February 2014, Verizon demonstrated the potential of LTE Broadcast during Super Bowl XLVIII, using Samsung Galaxy Note 3s, fitted with Expway's eMBMS User Service. [10]

In July 2014, Nokia demonstrated the use of LTE Broadcast to replace Traditional Digital TV. [11] This use case remains controversial as some study are doubting about the capability of LTE Broadcast to address this use case efficiently in its current version. [12]

Also in July 2014, BBC Research & Development and EE demonstrated LTE Broadcast during the XX Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland using equipment from Huawei and Qualcomm. [13] [14]

In August 2014, Ericsson and Polkomtel successfully tested LTE Broadcast technology by streaming the opening game of the 2014 World Volleyball Championship to hundreds of guests at Warsaw’s National Stadium in Poland on August 30. [15]

In June 2015, BBC Research & Development and EE demonstrated LTE Broadcast during the FA Cup final in the U.K. [16] [17]

In September 2015, Verizon demonstrated eMBMS by broadcasting INDYCAR races. [18]

In October 2015, Verizon commercially launched their Go90 eMBMS service. Go90 offers both On-Demand and LiveTV, in both Unicast and Broadcast, and supports more than 10 different LTE Broadcast mobile devices. [19] [20] [21] Verizon ceased operating the go90 service on July 31, 2018. [22]

In February 2016, Akamai demonstrated with Expway, delivery of video streams across LTE networks with live on the fly switching from unicast to broadcast, at Mobile World Congress 2016. [23]

In April 2016, Verizon, Telstra, KT and EE launched the LTE Broadcast Alliance. [24]

As of January 2019, the Global Mobile Suppliers Association had identified 41 operators that have invested in eMBMS (including those considering/testing/trialling, deploying or piloting and those that have deployed or launched eMBMS). Five operators state they have now deployed eMBMS or launched some sort of commercial service using eMBMS. The range of chipsets available that can support eMBMS has been steadily growing, with three mobile processors/platforms released since March 2018. GSA has identified 52 different mobile processors/platforms and nine cellular modems that come with eMBMS support (though they will not all support the same eMBMS feature sets and functionalities). [25]

Competing technologies

Main competing technologies of MBMS include DVB-H/DVB-T, DVB-SH, DMB, ESM-DAB, and MediaFLO. However, due to spectrum scarcity and the cost of building new broadcast infrastructure some of these technologies may not be viable. MediaFLO has been deployed commercially in the US by Verizon Wireless through their relationship with MediaFLO USA, Inc. (a subsidiary of Qualcomm) however the service was shut down in early 2011. [26] DMB and DVB-H trials have been ongoing for more than a year now, like those during the football 2006 championships in Germany.

Huawei's proprietary CMB is a precursor to the Multimedia Broadcast Multicast Service. It was specified in 3GPP R6 and is using existing UMTS infrastructure. Huawei says that CMB is based on existing UMTS infrastructure and real time streaming application protocol.

The most significant competition is from services that stream individual video feeds to users over uni-cast data connections. While less efficient in certain situations, particularly the traditional case where everyone watches the same stream simultaneously, the user convenience of individual streaming has taken over the vast majority of the mobile media streaming market.

Technical description

The MBMS feature is split into the MBMS Bearer Service and the MBMS User Service and has been defined to be offered over both UTRAN (i.e. WCDMA, TD-CDMA and TD-SCDMA) and LTE (where it is often referred to as eMBMS). The MBMS Bearer Service includes a Unicast and a Broadcast Mode. MBMS Operation On-Demand (MOOD) allows dynamic switching between Unicast and Broadcast over LTE, based on configured triggers. The MBMS Bearer Service uses IP multicast addresses for the IP flows. The advantage of the MBMS Bearer Service compared to unicast bearer services (interactive, streaming, etc.) is that the transmission resources in the core and radio networks are shared. [27] One MBMS packet flow is replicated by GGSN, SGSN and RNCs. MBMS may use an advanced counting scheme to decide, whether or not zero, one or more dedicated (i.e. unicast) radio channels lead to a more efficient system usage than one common (i.e. broadcast) radio channel.

The MBMS User Service is basically the MBMS Service Layer and offers two different data Delivery Methods:

MBMS has been standardized in various groups of 3GPP (Third Generation Partnership Project), and the first phase standards are found in UMTS release 6. As Release 6 was functionally frozen by the 3rd quarter of 2004, practical network implementations may be expected by the end of 2007, and the first functional mobile terminals supporting MBMS are estimated to be available by also end of 2007.

eMBMS has been standardized in various groups of 3GPP as part of LTE release 9. The LTE version of MBMS, referred to as Multicast-broadcast single-frequency network (MBSFN), supports broadcast only services and is based on a Single Frequency Network (SFN) based OFDM waveform and so is functional similar to other broadcast solutions such as DVB-H, -SH and -NGH. In Release 14, the 3GPP enhanced the specifications for eMBMS with a view to making the technology more attractive for deployment by operators and broadcasters. The 3GPP’s work on the next generation of technology in Release 16 includes a study on LTE-based broadcast on 5G networks [28] , MBMS APIs for mission-critical services and MBMS user services for IoT. [29]

3GPP technical specifications

MBMS Bearer Service (Distribution Layer):

MBMS User Service (Service Layer):

See also

Related Research Articles

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4G is the fourth generation of broadband cellular network technology, succeeding 3G. A 4G system must provide capabilities defined by ITU in IMT Advanced. Potential and current applications include amended mobile web access, IP telephony, gaming services, high-definition mobile TV, video conferencing, and 3D television.

Internet Protocol television (IPTV) is the delivery of television content over Internet Protocol (IP) networks. This is in contrast to delivery through traditional terrestrial, satellite, and cable television formats. Unlike downloaded media, IPTV offers the ability to stream the source media continuously. As a result, a client media player can begin playing the content almost immediately. This is known as streaming media.

3GP is a multimedia container format defined by the Third Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) for 3G UMTS multimedia services. It is used on 3G mobile phones but can also be played on some 2G and 4G phones.

High-Efficiency Advanced Audio Coding file format

High-Efficiency Advanced Audio Coding (HE-AAC) is an audio coding format for lossy data compression of digital audio defined as an MPEG-4 Audio profile in ISO/IEC 14496-3. It is an extension of Low Complexity AAC optimized for low-bitrate applications such as streaming audio. HE-AAC version 1 profile uses spectral band replication (SBR) to enhance the compression efficiency in the frequency domain. HE-AAC version 2 profile couples SBR with Parametric Stereo (PS) to enhance the compression efficiency of stereo signals. It is a standardized and improved version of the AACplus codec.

DVB-H is one of three prevalent mobile TV formats. It is a technical specification for bringing broadcast services to mobile handsets. DVB-H was formally adopted as ETSI standard EN 302 304 in November 2004. The DVB-H specification can be downloaded from the official DVB-H website. From March 2008, DVB-H is officially endorsed by the European Union as the "preferred technology for terrestrial mobile broadcasting". The major competitors of this technology are Qualcomm's MediaFLO system, the 3G cellular system based MBMS mobile-TV standard, and the ATSC-M/H format in the U.S. DVB-SH now and DVB-NGH in the future are possible enhancements to DVB-H, providing improved spectral efficiency and better modulation flexibility. DVB-H has been a commercial failure, and the service is no longer on-air. Ukraine was the last country with a nationwide broadcast in DVB-H.

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E-UTRA is the air interface of 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) Long Term Evolution (LTE) upgrade path for mobile networks. It is an acronym for Evolved Universal Mobile Telecommunications System (UMTS) Terrestrial Radio Access, also referred to as the 3GPP work item on the Long Term Evolution (LTE) also known as the Evolved Universal Terrestrial Radio Access (E-UTRA) in early drafts of the 3GPP LTE specification. E-UTRAN is the initialism of Evolved UMTS Terrestrial Radio Access Network and is the combination of E-UTRA, user equipment (UE), and E-UTRAN Node B or Evolved Node B (EnodeB).

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  1. GSA: LTE Broadcast (eMBMS) Market Update – January 2019 (retrieved 7 January 2019)
  2. An Analysis of 14 Different LTE Broadcast Business Cases
  3. Verizon Eyes Broadcast Over LTE for Super Bowl 2014 By Chloe Albanesius, PC Magazine, January 8, 2013
  4. AT&T to use Lower 700 MHz D and E Block spectrum for LTE Broadcast By Phil Goldstein, FierceWireless, September 24, 2013
  5. Verizon Delivers LTE Multicast Over Commercial 4G LTE Network in Indy
  6. RJIL to invest in LTE broadcast technology
  8. Nokia Networks first to trial LTE for national TV broadcasting
  9. Delivery of Broadcast Content over LTE
  10. BBC Research & Development to Demonstrate 4G Broadcast for Commonwealth Games by Andrew Murphy.
  11. BBC, Huawei and EE unveil 4G broadcasting trial at Commonwealth Games by Antony Savvas.
  13. 4G Broadcast technology trial at Wembley 2015 FA Cup Final by Chris Nokes.
  14. EE and BBC trial 4G broadcast at FA Cup Final.
  17. []
  21. Alleven, Monica (April 27, 2016). "Verizon, Telstra, kt and EE launch LTE-Broadcast Alliance | FierceWireless". Archived from the original on August 28, 2018.Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  22. GSA: LTE Broadcast (eMBMS) Market Update – January 2019 (retrieved 7 January 2019)
  23. MediaFLO
  24. Delivering content with LTE broadcast By Thorsten Lohmar, Michael Slssingar, Vera Kenehan and Stif Puustinen, Ericsson Review, February 11, 2013
  25. Technical explanation about LTE-based 5G Terrestrial Broadcast
  26. GSA: LTE Broadcast (eMBMS) Market Update – January 2019 (retrieved 7 January 2019)