Telstra will run its first stadium trial of long term evolution broadcast (4G LTE-B) technology during tonight’s International T20 cricket match at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
The Telco said it was the world’s first attempt to use LTE-B technology at a stadium event.
The technology allows content to be broadcast to an unlimited number of users through a single stream of data, freeing up outside network capacity for general use.
Possible future uses of the technology, some of which will be tested tonight, include people listening to live commentary, getting real time match statistics and being able to watch replays and game highlights on their smartphone or tablet.
Telstra Executive Director Networks, Mike Wright said the trial followed successful lab demonstrations and would be one of the first live event LTE-B trials in the world, marking a significant step in developing the technology for commercial use.
“When a large number of people gather in one place we often see a huge spike in the demand for data, which can stretch the capabilities of our network and affect our customers’ experience,” he said.
“This is particularly evident during sporting events with a lot of our customers looking to enhance the live event by accessing commentary or stats online,”
The trial will be conducted with Telstra’s network partner Ericsson, with content provided by Channel Nine with the approval of Cricket Australia and the Melbourne Cricket Club.
The trial will stream three channels of dedicated content to selected participants using specialised LTE-B enabled smartphones with specific device firmware provided by Samsung.
Wright said LTE-B offered the ability to deliver content more effectively and provided all users the same high quality service using one single stream of data.
“This streamlined process frees up the rest of the network to carry other data, voice and text messages,” he said.
“We have successfully tested the technology in the lab, and tonight’s trial will give us valuable insights into how it performs in the real world –from both a user and technical perspective.
“We will use the results from trials such as this to refine the network and work with manufacturers and content owners to develop devices and applications in preparation for a commercial launch.”