IPWireless, a pioneer in developing key enabling IMB technology, has announced that the company has signed a cooperation agreement with Samsung Electronics to develop and demonstrate phones with broadcast capabilities based on the 3GPP IMB standard.
IMB is capable of streaming live video and broadcasting and storing popular content on the device for later consumption, both resulting in significant offloading of data intensive traffic from existing 3G unicast networks, and an improved customer experience.
“The IMB standard gives an opportunity to breathe life back into the possibility of using part of the 3G spectrum for broadcasting and datacasting, allowing major infrastructure vendors and handset manufacturers, such as Samsung, to refocus their mobile broadcast technologies on the underused TDD band on UMTS [3G] networks,” said David McQueen, principal analyst, Informa Telecoms & Media.
“With mushrooming data traffic caused by the advent of wireless-laptop-connectivity products and smartphones, thereby increasing bandwidth demands on mobile operator networks, the IMB standard is gaining increasing mobile operator interest for use as an overspill for data-intensive multimedia. IMB also has the further advantage of being able to operate in spectrum that many mobile operators have already acquired so negating the need to build a separate and distinct network.”
Added Dr. Bill Jones, CEO at IPWireless: “The explosive growth in mobile data created by media friendly devices is creating the need for a more innovative 3G network delivery solution like IMB. As a leader in 3GPP mobile broadcast, we are dedicated to the development of the ecosystem so that operators and their hardware partners are able to confidently and swiftly deploy IMB solutions. We are delighted to be working with Samsung, a market leader, to demonstrate the tremendous potential for mobile broadcast.”
IMB was defined in the 3GPP release 8 standards, and was recently endorsed by the GSMA as their preferred method for the efficient delivery of broadcast services.
Mobile operators are exploring using the IMB wireless technology within a little-used tranche of 3G spectrum called Time Division Duplex (TDD) spectrum. This spectrum already forms part of the 3G licenses held by many European mobile operators, but has remained largely unused because of a lack of appropriate technology.
Currently, 3G TDD spectrum is available to over 150 operators across 60 countries covering more than half a billion subscribers. IMB enables spectrally efficient delivery of broadcast services, in TDD spectrum based on techniques that are aligned with existing FDD WCDMA standards.
This allows for a smooth handover between IMB and existing 3G networks.