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Verizon Wireless launched live commercial LTE Broadcast (LTE-B) services at the Verizon Indy Car Series race in Sonoma, CA, on Aug. 30. Verizon did not announce the launch, most likely because it plans to announce a much larger nationwide launch of LTE-B in the near future. That will be the first large-scale launch of LTE-B worldwide and a huge milestone that will pave the way for other operators to deploy and launch the emerging technology.

LTE-B, start your engines

Verizon used LTE-B, which it calls “LTE Multicast,” to offer four live video streams to spectators at the track who had downloaded the Verizon Indy Car 15 app from Google Play onto one of the handful of devices supporting the new service. The additional videos, which spectators could view one at a time, came from cameras mounted on the cars of leading drivers.

LTE-B dedicates a certain amount of spectrum to broadcast selected content to all users in a given area, in contrast to the traditional approach of mobile systems, which is to unicast content to individual users. The Verizon LTE-B service, which was available only at the Sonoma raceway, worked well, but the video streams did suffer from periodic jitter and delay.

Verizon is the lead sponsor of the Indy Car Series and has demonstrated LTE-B services at previous races, but this was the first time it was available to the public on commercial devices, including the Samsung Galaxy S5, Samsung Galaxy Note Edge, LG G4, LG Vista, and Moto Droid Turbo, all of which run Qualcomm’s Snapdragon mobile processor. Although this use of LTE-B on commercial devices and a live network signals the commercial launch of LTE-B by Verizon, the carrier did not announce the service, probably because it plans to announce a nationwide launch of LTE-B in the very near future.

Verizon’s launch of LTE-B is a milestone for the technology because Verizon and its vendor partners such as Qualcomm, Ericsson, and Alcatel Lucent have done much to develop the technology, business case, and global ecosystem for the new technology. In practical terms, Verizon’s launch will spur competitors such as AT&T, which is deploying LTE-B, to accelerate their plans, while encouraging operators in other markets to deploy and launch services.

KT launched the world’s first LTE-B commercial service in January 2014, but the service is still relatively small-scale, in that it is only available in parts of Seoul. Other carriers deploying the technology include AT&T in the US, Telstra in Australia, and Globe in the Philippines.


Further reading

“Nokia Networks joins the LTE Broadcast bandwagon with its own trial,” TE0006-000915 (July 2014)


Mike Roberts, Practice Leader, Americas

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