The GSM Association (GSMA), which represents the mobile industry, is throwing its support behind Integrated Mobile Broadcast (IMB), a new 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) standard designed to accelerate the global adoption of mobile data and broadcast services.
A growing number of users are accessing media content on mobile devices, and the GSMA believes that IMB can help by enabling the "spectrally efficient" delivery of broadcast services.
"Much like High Speed Packet Access [HSPA] has catapulted the growth of mobile broadband services, IMB represents a tremendous opportunity for operators to leverage their 3G network investments to deliver innovative mobile broadcast services, and efficiently handle the significant growth of video on mobile networks," said Bill Jones, chief executive at wireless solutions firm IPWireless.
A GSMA white paper, entitled IMB Service Scenarios and System Requirements, said that IMB meets the necessary regulatory and spectral requirements, meaning that operators can use it within segments of spectrum already allocated with many 3G licences, but which have remained unused owing to a lack of appropriate technology.
Developers should find it easier to create applications based on the platform because it reuses many aspects of existing and already deployed technologies, such as Universal Mobile Telecommunications System and Multimedia Broadcast Multicast Service (MBMS).
This should facilitate a shorter development cycle for inclusion in products, resulting in a faster time to market for broadcast services such as mobile TV.
Furthermore, the nature of the technology should allow it to be deployed either as a coverage layer or to relieve capacity as demand grows, according to the GSMA.
"IMB being a 3GPP standard is part of the industry mainstream technology track, giving the biggest scale advantage for mobile broadcast," said Erik Ekudden, vice president and head of technology and industry at Ericsson. "As such, IMB is complementing existing HSPA and MBMS delivery of rich content."
The GSMA white paper was created in collaboration with several operators, including Orange, SingTel, Softbank, Telstra, T-Mobile and Vodafone, and outlines the capabilities that will need to be supported in operators' networks and devices, and suggests a range of services that could be implemented using IMB as the underlying delivery technology.
"IMB has been created through collaborative mobile industry effort, and offers mobile operators an opportunity to launch new services to customers," said Alex Sinclair, chief technology officer at the GSMA.
"The GSMA is delighted to be endorsing this technology, and we look forward to seeing the advanced services the mobile operator community will deploy using this flexible new mobile broadcast standard."
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