AT&T (NYSE: T) will demonstrate its LTE multicast technology at the Jan. 12 College Football Championship game at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. The technology, also known as LTE broadcast, is important because it will enable a wide range of content including music and video to be delivered directly to compatible end-user devices within a certain time frame and location.
Currently wireless carriers such as AT&T use unicast streaming technology to allow viewers to access live and on-demand content. By using LTE multicast technology AT&T and other wireless operators will be able to more efficiently deliver content to a greater number of users.
This is AT&T's first demonstration of LTE broadcast. However, competitor Verizon Communications (NYSE: VZ) demonstrated the technology at an event in 2014 in Manhattan's Bryant Park. Verizon has also said it plans to commercially launch LTE broadcast in its network this year.
In a blog post about the event, AT&T's Senior Executive Vice President of Technology and Operations John Donovan touted the technology. "Many customers attending a football game accessing venue-specific content (like live footage from a player's helmet cam) could experience lags because everyone else is trying to get that same content, at the same time, through individual data streams on their individual devices. LTE Broadcast would make available one single data stream for the helmet cam footage, available to all compatible devices in the stadium which could minimize network congestion."
Although LTE multicast technology is still in its early stages, wireless carriers such as AT&T and Verizon could be positioning themselves to use the technology to broadcast live TV programming to wireless customers.
FierceCable's editor-in-chief Sue Marek will be at AT&T's trial in Dallas Monday. Look for a full report on the trial next week.
- read this AT&T blog post
AT&T's Donovan: 'We're ready' for increasing video traffic
Verizon to debut LTE multicast in 2015
Verizon talking to TV manufacturers about supporting LTE Multicast programming
LTE Multicast and Wi-Fi Multicast: The emergence of complementary technologies