As our airwaves get more and more packed with wireless signals, we have to find a way to make those signals travel more efficiently — it's the only way to increase capacity and keep up with demand. One way to do that is to use novel technologies like LTE-Broadcast to deliver the same popular data stream to multiple devices. After years of testing, and trials, and procrastination, Telstra is switching on LTE-B around the country in 2018.
LTE-B allows a single high-bitrate data stream to be broadcast from any mobile cell tower, and accessed at equal quality by any device in the vicinity. It'll be useful in network-capacity-limited situations; if you've ever been to a stadium for a concert or a sports game, you'll know how the network can slow to a crawl. Because of this, it'll also have use in sending a video stream to many users in one area — think of having the live TV broadcast of a footy game playing on your phone while you're in your stadium seat.
The first of several LTE-B products will launch in Australia some time this year, lowering the network stress that comes from mobile devices accessing Telstra Media streams like AFL and NRL games. Telstra will also launch a 24/7 live streaming TV channel using LTE-Broadcast, with the stream initially only available to Samsung's high-end devices.
From Telstra: "LTE-B users can expect to receive the highest quality video and audio experience for broadcast content by consuming a constant bitrate data channel regardless of how many subscribers are watching the broadcast.
"This technique improves the received quality of streamed media, even in high traffic areas where customers’ video experience may sometimes result in reduced quality and eliminates buffering arisen from fluctuations in latency."