SYS-CON MEDIA Authors: Roberto Medrano, Dmitriy Stepanov, Gilad Parann-Nissany, Srinivasan Sundara Rajan, Sean Houghton

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Research and Markets: Signals Ahead: eMBMS / LTE Broadcast - Once Bitten, Twice Shy?

Research and Markets (http://www.researchandmarkets.com/research/dr8srm/signals_ahead) has announced the addition of the "Signals Ahead: eMBMS / LTE Broadcast - once bitten, twice shy?" report to their offering.

In 2007 we identified a staggering seventeen different technologies that enabled "mobile TV". Fast forward to 2014 and virtually all of these technologies have fallen by the wayside, including two different implementations of MBMS, FLO and DVB-H. In this context, it is no surprise that the industry frequently uses the term LTE Broadcast to refer to an enhanced version of MBMS (eMBMS) that is a part of the LTE standard. Release 8 introduced the MBSFN subframe but the real meat of the feature gets introduced in subsequent releases.

For multiple reasons, we believe that things will be different the second time around. First, eMBMS/ LTE Broadcast has universal support throughout the industry. Multiple chipset companies are enabling the middleware and making other necessary changes to their chipsets. All infrastructure vendors support it, albeit with a couple of different architectures. Major operators are also deploying the feature and/or doing announced or unannounced trials. In 2014 we believe that 3 operators will launch commercial LTE Broadcast services and we are aware of an additional 8 operators that have plans to trial or are currently trialing it.

The "e" in eMBMS may be lower case, but it is large in stature. In addition to riding on the coattails of a more spectral efficient air interface, LTE Broadcast leverages a Single Frequency Network (SFN), which turns what would otherwise be unwanted interference into a desired signal. The net result is tremendous gains in spectral efficiency with only modest areas where coverage holes could exist - something that unicast could potentially fill. In fact, the network economics for LTE Broadcast can be more favorable than unicast with as few as one or two active mobile devices per sector (the exact answer is based on the cell site density and other factors).

Specific topics include the following:

- What went wrong the first time? In 2007 there were 17 "mobile TV" technologies and virtually all of them, including MBMS FDD and MBMS TDD, failed to deliver. That was then, this is now.

- Technical Primer. We provide a tutorial on how eMBMS impacts the LTE network architecture and how the MBSFN subframe is able to deliver the same multicast content to all users with higher spectral efficiency and coverage than good old LTE.

- Tracking the Release functionality. We discuss the features of LTE Broadcast, including some futuristic features, and when they get introduced into the standard.

- The Use Cases. The Use Cases for LTE Broadcast are fairly well understood. We review them but focus on the Use Cases that we really like as well as those Use Cases that are questionable. Bottom line, LTE Broadcast rollouts will be very gradual and the Use Cases, including the size of MBSFN areas, will expand very gradually over time.

- The Challenges. LTE Broadcast does come with its own set of challenges, although many of the challenges can actually be viewed in a positive manner. First and foremost, launching LTE Broadcast isn't nearly as simple as upgrading the network and flipping a switch. Further, it does very little to address the data tsunami, in particular in the near term.

- Market Outlook. We provide our near-term outlook for LTE Broadcast and the catalysts that could drive wider spread adoption - including more operators larger / more frequent MBSFN Areas.

Key Topics Covered:

  1. Executive Summary
  2. The Second (or Third) Time Around
  3. Verizon Wireless LTE Broadcast Demonstration
  4. eMBMS - a Technical Primer
  5. The SFN Concept
  6. The Radio Layer
  7. Spectral Efficiency
  8. The Network Architecture
  9. Tracking the eMBMS Release Functionality
  10. Opportunities - Potential Use Cases
  11. Challenges
  12. Final Thoughts

For more information visit http://www.researchandmarkets.com/research/dr8srm/signals_ahead

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