O2, Orange, and Vodafone, are to jointly pilot a new mobile broadcast system capable of delivering data intensive services such as mobile TV in a more efficient way.
IMB is a standardised 3GPP technology endorsed by the GSMA and can link with traditional unicast or on-demand services delivered over 3G.
The mobile operators are exploring using the IMB wireless technology within a slice of 3G spectrum called Time Division Duplex (TDD). This spectrum already forms part of the 3G licences held by many European mobile operators, but according to the mobile operators has remained 'largely unused because of a lack of appropriate technology'.
The pilot will demonstrate the capabilities of IMB in delivering both live streaming video and offloading traffic from existing 3G networks by broadcasting and storing content on the device.
"With the strong growth of data traffic on our 3G networks and the mobile industry's recent support of this high performance broadcast technology, the time is right to move forward with an IMB initiative," said Luke Ibbetson, Head of Technology R&D at Vodafone Group. "By joining our peers in this UK Pilot, we expect to be able to explore the potential of delivering broadcast services across available 3G spectrum."
"Network capability is key for mobile TV roll-out and IMB will enable more operators to maximize the benefits they get from 3G investments with high quality TV service deployments on an efficient, pragmatic and scalable solution that works from country to country" said Thierry Bonhomme, EVP in charge of Networks, Carriers and R&D at Orange.
Gavin Franks, Head of New Business Development at O2 added: "Based on the results of the pilot, we anticipate being able to offer our consumers through our networks a range of innovative new broadcast services such as mobile TV and intelligent broadcasting that will lead to an enhanced user experience."
IPWireless and Ericsson have partnered to deliver the end-to-end technology solution for the pilot.
The trial will run for three months commencing in October 2010.
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