Telstra deploys Australia’s first LTE-Broadcast technology to support sports streaming
Telstra today announced it had turned on LTE-Broadcast (LTE-B) technology nationally in its mobile network, with customers using Samsung Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S9 devices now benefitting from more reliable High Definition streaming using the AFL Live Official app.
Group Managing Director Networks, Mike Wright said following extensive testing, Telstra is the only operator in Australia and one of the first in the world to deploy LTE-B into its mobile network.
“With the success of our AFL, NRL and Netball apps, we are now streaming live sports content to a massive base of around 1.2 million devices and sports fans consume 37 million minutes of live content over our apps on any given weekend. This season we’ve seen an overall 58 per cent increase in customers streaming games. In some instances, more than twice the number of customers have streamed, compared to the same clash last year,” said Mr Wright.
“As recent major sporting events around the world have shown, meeting the massive peaks in demand for live sporting content takes extensive end-to-end network design combined with careful network management and strategic investments.
“We have invested in network capacity and continue to optimise our network to meet the demand for video sporting content for subscribers of the AFL, NRL and Netball Live Passes. Last year we announced 1.5 million subscribers and this year we are on track to see a significant increase. Most recently, we have integrated LTE-B technology into the AFL Live Official app, which is delivering better quality video and audio experience for broadcast content, even in high traffic areas,” said Mr Wright.
At a live demonstration in Sydney today, over 100 Samsung Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S9 devices were on display showing simultaneous High Definition content from the AFL Live Official app using LTE-B. At the same time, a second batch of devices delivering the content by conventional unicast showed how normal networks can be saturated with demand leading to lower quality and stalling of content.
“Video streaming is transforming the way we consume entertainment, including how we watch sport. Today’s LTE-B demonstration highlights the improved quality and enhanced video and audio experience for customers watching live and real time content. And while usage is steadily growing, it’s clear that key moments in a game, and snacking on games, is the key usage trend we see on mobile – and ensuring the highest quality experience is paramount for us.
“With more and more people tuning into games live and unmetered in more places, Telstra’s sporting apps are now becoming some of the world’s leading examples of real time sports consumption. The popularity of these apps make them a prime use case for LTE-B.
“We are proud to have worked in recent years with many world leading technology companies to bring this capability to life and today’s demonstration shows the power of the right combination of the network and device,” said Mr Wright.
Weekend traffic from the AFL Live Official app on Telstra’s network has grown three fold since 2016 and has peaked this year at 143 gigabits per second – this would represent the entire network capacity of some wireless networks in the world. The combination of AFL, NRL and Netball streaming since the 2018 season launches mean we are now seeing mobile network traffic peaks each weekend exceeding the total network traffic of just a few years ago.
“One of the biggest challenges for mobile network operators around the world is how to manage the ever growing demand for data and video. LTE-B is key part of the solution – not only does it improve network efficiency, but more importantly improves the customer experience by delivering an enhanced streaming experience.”
Telstra is pleased to have partnered with Ericsson and Samsung, and also appreciate the support of Expway in enabling the middleware in the AFL Live Official app.
LTE-B technology is currently exclusive to the AFL Live Official app on Samsung Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S9 devices. More devices and applications will be added over the coming months.
Media contact: Matthew Wu, Senior Corporate Relations Advisor
Reference number: 81/2018
What is LTE-Broadcast?
Today when a large group of people in the one area want to watch the same content on their smartphones or tablets at once, individual content streams of data are sent to each individual device (i.e. one to one). With LTE-B, we can send that content via a single stream of data to many mobile users in the one area at once (i.e. one to many).
In this way, we can provide a better quality and more seamless video and audio experience for customers who are all trying to do the same thing at once, even when they are in high traffic areas like in a CBD location, shopping centres, and hospitals or actually at match itself.
This has the potential to be a game changer for game watching, as it not only frees up network capacity to improve the experience for everyone using it, but it will enable Telstra and our partners to deliver richer video experiences.
It could even be extended to things like software and app updates, emergency alerts, real time traffic and road updates to autonomous cars, and even preloading the most popular new episodes of your favourite TV show ready to watch on the train trip to work.