Will eMBMS be a success in 2014 or beyond? This is what Pierre François Dubois, VP Product Development at the Orange Technocentre will be discussing on Day One of the 10th annual LTE World Summit, the premier 4G event for the telecoms industry, taking place on the 23rd-26th June 2014, at the Amsterdam RAI, Netherlands. Ahead of the show we caught up with him to gain a sneak peek at his insights into this and other LTE technologies such as VoLTE.
LTE Broadcast/eMBMS – hasn’t the wireless industry been here before and why will it be different this time?
There have been several attempts in the last ten years to enrich mobile networks with broadcast solutions, but all of them failed for two main reasons: no real breakthrough in terms of service for the consumer and the difficulty of building an ecosystem (the second being often the consequence of the first one). Integrated Mobile Broadcast (IMB) with 3G was a good idea as it could enable many MNOs to leverage useless TD spectrum they acquired with 3G but it came too late, and with 4G in the horizon no one made the first move.
It is too early to say that eMBMS will be a success but the situation is obviously different:
– On the fixed access side, mixing broadcast and interactive services has led to new business models in the media industry. It inspires MNOs and their partners as mobile network are more and more content and video driven.
– 4G has been fully designed for data and anticipated eMBMS in the standard, which was not the case with IMB.
– The technology is close to maturity. The chipsets are there and end-to-end trials have been completed by several MNOs.
“Will there be a true business model for this technology?” remains the main question and the answer may vary from one country to another.
What is the killer use case for eMBMS?
Broadcast is mainly about live events and mobile means outside the home. The killer use case is therefore a situation where you have many people in the same area, expected to stream the same content on their smartphone or tablet. It can be a specific event in a certain place (e.g. providing an enriched experience for a sport event, while everyone is in the stadium), or it can be a specific media that lots of people stream at the same time. In France for example, the radio industry is very interested to understand if and how eMBMS could be an alternative or a complement to traditional broadcast solutions in specific areas or at certain time of day.
What other key technology do you believe will come to the fore in 2014?
VoLTE with handover to 3G/2G (SRVCC) is obviously a key technology that is expected for several reasons. The first one is that 800MHz frequency bands will lead to a better coverage than any band used for 2G/3G in most countries. Therefore customers will sometimes enjoy 4G coverage but won’t be able to make a call with circuit switch fall back. VoLTE will be the only solution in these situations. The second one is that together with RCS it opens the way for new services, and we hope that it will stimulate new communication experiences provided by third parties through APIs.
The 10th annual LTE World Summit, the premier 4G event for the telecoms industry, is taking place on the 23rd-26th June 2014, at the Amsterdam RAI, Netherlands. Click here to download a brochure for the event.
How else is Orange looking to innovate in the LTE space in 2014?
In terms of products we believe that cameras together with more upstream capacities will lead to new business or consumer services. Thanks to platforms like Dailymotion or YouTube, people are used to loading content into the cloud that people then stream via the internet, but there are many situations when you would like the B-party to watch in real time what you record. “See what I see” is a proposal which should be appealing and the devices and networks are now available to make it happen.
Will 2014 be the year for VoLTE to go mainstream?
In Europe where LTE coverage is far from 90 per cent, you need SRVCC to launch VoLTE. This is why we are behind Korea or USA where LTE deployment was more aggressive and where VoLTE was launched without SRVCC. I believe several countries will launch trials with this technology in 2014 but most roll outs should rather start by the end of the year or in H1 2015.
Why is the LTE World Summit an important date in your diary and what are you hoping to get out of it?
LTE is a major breakthrough in our industry. It shakes up everything, from architecture and operations to business models. It is very important to meet with other MNOs and vendors to share ideas and make sure we make the right choices. It is very important that the LTE World Summit exists in order to give us this opportunity. No doubt the 2014 edition will be very interesting.