AT&T: LTE Broadcast on 700 MHz

AT&T plans to use 700 MHz Lower D and E Block licenses for LTE Broadcast, reports Fierce Wireless. AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson disclosed the plans during an appearance at a Goldman Sachs Communacopia Conference this week.

AT&T acquired the unpaired licenses from Qualcomm in December 2011, for $1.93 billion.

The E Block in the 700 MHz band, like the adjoining D Block in the lower 700 MHz band, are single channel 6 MHz bands. They were originally designed for mobile television broadcasting, using technologies like Qualcomm’s MediaFLO.

It was supposed to be the next big thing, but MediaFLO’s mobile tv system required a tuner in the cellphone and a single, powerful TV transmitter to provide regional coverage.

Dyle, which will deliver mobile television over broadcast television channels, uses the ATSC-M/H standard in the United States. Like the defunct MediaFLO, it requires a special phone with a tv tuner. Resolution is low and range is limited. In contrast, MobiTV and LTE Broadcast work with smartphones on cellular channels. No tuner required.

AT&T controls around 12 MHz in Californian and the upper NE, and 6 MHz (in the “D Block”), across much of the United States. Dish (Frontier) owns the rest of the 6 MHz in the “E-Block” that also covers much of the country.

AT&T’s 6 MHz of Lower 700 MHz “D block” spectrum covers more than 230 million people across the U.S., while AT&T’s 6 MHz “E-Block” portion covers an attractive demographic; more than 70 million people in five of the top 15 U.S. metropolitan areas — New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Los Angeles and San Francisco. Dish owns the rest of the 6 MHz “E Block”.

Dish has held onto their 6 MHz slice in the E Block. EchoStar (Frontier) picked up 168 of the total 176 E-Block licenses (map) for more than $711 million during the spectrum auction in 2008, according to the FCC’s Web site. Dish has tested a number of mobile TV services in the E Block, but has not deployed any (yet).

AT&T’s focus is now almost “all about architecting networks to deliver video”, according to Stephenson, and that will be where AT&T will spend the most capital over the next three years. He said AT&T is developing a “broadcast capability” to remove video traffic from its wide-area wireless networks.

LTE Broadcast uses evolved Multimedia Broadcast Multicast Service (eMBMS) which multicasts content to many subscribers over one cellular channel.

Verizon Wireless expects to first deploy LTE Broadcast early next year and use the Super Bowl as a test case for the technology. “2014 is a definite” for the launch of LTE Broadcast service, Rich DeSantis, executive director of advanced solutions for Verizon Wireless, told FierceBroadbandWireless in March.

Some 915 million LTE global subscribers are forecast by 2016, eclipsing one billion in 2017.

Traffic from wireless and mobile devices will exceed traffic from wired devices by 2016, according to Cisco with Internet video increasing fivefold by 2017.

Related Dailywireless articles include; Dish Network’s 700 MHz Spectrum, Dish: Lower 700MHz Power Ups Speculation, AT&T Gets Heat on MediaFLO Spectrum, LTE Broadcast Mobilizes at MWC, H.265 Gets Real, Aereo Vs LTE Broadcast: Fight!, Mobile Video on Diet with Social Graph, DIAL: Smart TV App Browses for Movies, Mobile: The New Television, Verizon & AT&T Launch Targeted Advertising, AT&T Agrees to 700 MHz Interoperability, Dish Demos Rooftop LTE, Sprint to Buy Clearwire, Clearwire Board Backs Dish, Verizon Buying Nationwide AWS Spectrum from Cable, FCC to Okay Verizon/Cable Spectrum Buy, T-Mobile Gets AWS Spectrum from Breakup, AT&T Wants 2.3 GHz for LTE

Posted by Sam Churchill on .

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