The GSMA, which represents the interests of the worldwide mobile communications industry, today announced that it has endorsed a new 3GPP standard, Integrated Mobile Broadcast (IMB), that will allow its members to accelerate the adoption of mobile data and broadcast services worldwide. IMB is a technology that enables spectrally-efficient delivery of broadcast services, based on techniques that are greatly aligned with existing FDD WCDMA but also allowing deployment in TDD spectrum. This allows for the smooth handover between IMB delivery and existing deployed technology.
Operators can use IMB within segments of spectrum already allocated with many 3G licenses, but which have remained unused due to a lack of appropriate technology. Since IMB meets the necessary regulatory and spectral requirements to be deployed in this spectrum, operators can now use this valuable but previously untapped asset. IMB also reuses many aspects of existing, deployed technologies such as UMTS and Multimedia Broadcast Multicast Service (MBMS), meaning a short development cycle for inclusion on products resulting in a faster time to market for mobile broadcast services such as mobile TV.
"IMB has been created through collaborative mobile industry effort and offers mobile operators an opportunity to launch new services to their 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."
The GSMA also collaborated with leading operators such as Orange, SingTel, Softbank, Telstra, T-Mobile and Vodafone to create a white paper on this new standard. The GSMA IMB Service Scenarios and System Requirements white paper covers the technology in greater detail, including spectral requirements for deployment of the service, capabilities that are required to be supported in the operator's network and upon devices, and a range of examples of services that could be implemented using IMB as the underlying delivery technology. In combination with 3GPP specifications, the white paper will allow infrastructure and handset manufacturers to develop common implementations of IMB, which in turn will promote mass adoption through the generation of economies of scale and an IMB ecosystem.
The white paper is available to download via the following link: http://www.gsmworld.com/documents/GSMA_IMB_WP_final.doc
"IMB being a 3GPP standard is part of the industry mainstream technology track, giving the biggest scale advantage for mobile broadcast. As such, IMB is complementing existing HSPA and MBMS delivery of rich content," said Erik Ekudden, Vice President and Head of Technology and Industry, Ericsson.
"Much like 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. As a pioneer in 3G broadcast, IPWireless looks forward to partnering with the entire industry ecosystem to accelerate IMB deployments," said Dr. Bill Jones, CEO, IPWireless.
"We, at Orange, have successfully tested an early variant of the IMB technology. We think that it will improve the delivery of broadcast services such as Mobile TV for our customers," said Philippe Lucas, VP International Standards & Industry Relationships, Orange.
"We have a lot of exciting new services, based on the delivery of a range of short video clips to many of our subscribers, but which were not practical to implement on the present unicast system. Standardisation of IMB gives us great encouragement that we may be able to dramatically enhance the quality and variety of such services," said Ted Matsumoto, Senior Executive Vice President, Softbank.
"We believe IMB can offer operators a flexible and efficient way of managing broadcast and high demand video services. The nature of the technology allows deployment either as a coverage layer or more incrementally to relieve capacity as demand grows," said Hugh Bradlow, CTO, Telstra Australia.