AT&T LTE Multicast: From One, Many

Everyone loves a good movie from Netflix when waiting for a delayed flight.  Even more people enjoy a nice Pandora Internet Radio session while waiting for class to start.  And still more just want to be able to watch a YouTube video in line for a coffee or sandwich and just have it play nice and smooth, with no jitters or buffering-breaks.  Does that sound so far-fetched?  And does it sound far-fetched that the consumer is asking the carriers and service providers to make that all seamless and whatnot.  And AT&T has the answer for its subscribers, or it will in 2015.

AT&T's CSO (Chief Strategy Officer) John Stankey spoke during the Oppenheimer Technology, Internet, & Communications Conference about AT&T's plan, specifically the company's current timeline, for the deployment of what AT&T calls 'LTE Multicast'.  Multicast is AT&T's title for the technology known as evolved Multimedia Broadcast Multicast Service (eMBMS) which is interesting as a technology, especially for a data-consumer like you and I.  The technology simply lets a single file or bit of data get sent to multiple recipients at once, over a single broadcast, rather than the users having to get it for each one of themselves in a single broadcast of its own.

Stankey spoke about how the company plans to launch the technology on its network in 2015, as well as the reasoning for the launch.  He spoke about how demand was seen in the subscriber-base of AT&T for this kind of speedier and simpler downloading.  What was also noted, both by AT&T and by Stankey, is the fact that people would be and are willing to pay for the service, the bonus speed(s), and the new feature(s) that it would bring to the AT&T network.

AT&T has, until today's announcement, been secretive with their plans, saying things along the lines of 'exploring the possibility' of using and offering the new technology to subscribers.  But the company also has plans of where to incorporate the eMBMS into their wireless spectrum.  Remember how lately T-Mobile has been jumping on every opportunity to get some of that not-very-well-talked-about 700 Mhz spectrum?  Yeah, AT&T owns some 700 Mhz spectrum, specifically the D and E blocks.  AT&T has said that they are considering using this frequency, known for its concrete-penetrating ability, to send out the eMBMS 'LTE Multicast' data.  Stay tuned for specifics and further details as they arise and come out on AT&T's LTE Multicast, as well as the growing popularity of the 700 Mhz frequency band.

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About the Author
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Phil Bourget

Staff Writer
Using Android since 2012 and the Galaxy S III, I'm now running a Nexus 5 paired to a Moto 360 to keep updated on the Internet of stuff. Usually found on Google+ or in class.