AT&T to Use their 700Mhz Spectrum to Broadcast Live Video

September 24, 2013 - Written By Alexander Maxham

Some odd news coming out of AT&T today. They are getting ready to finally use the 700Mhz spectrum that they purchased from Qualcomm two years ago. They are going to help give cellular towers the ability to broadcast live video without clogging up the LTE network. This new technology, called LTE broadcast, optimizes data transmission by simultaneously sending content to numerous subscribers, rather than responding to individual requests and sending the broadcast separately. It will allow cellular towers to behave like TV broadcst stations. Additionally it’ll provide traditional cellular service, which will preventing the data congestion and reduced speeds usually associated with popular LTE streams.

AT&T also said that the deployment of their LTE broadcast network is still a few years away. CEO Randall Stephenson is saying that it’s somewhere in the carriers three-year plan. Verizon, is planning on launching LTE broadcast next year, and using the 2014 Super Bowl as their test run.

This new technology sounds pretty cool since you can push all the streaming of live events onto it’s own LTE band instead of clogging it up for others that are trying to use the network. The question is, is it really feasible? Sure it’s great for events like the Super Bowl, World Series, NBA Finals, Stanley Cup Finals, etc. But what about the rest of the year? The real challenge for carriers here will be how to use LTE broadcast outside of these high-demand events. Maybe they could use LTE Broadcast and stream everything live? Then no one would need a cable package, although you’re phone bill will skyrocket, especially if you don’t have unlimited data, and I really don’t see AT&T and Verizon bringing unlimited data back. Although I’d love to see it come back.

So there’s LTE broadcast and VoLTE coming in the next few years, at least for AT&T and Verizon. I wonder what other technology we’ll see soon?