Mobile communications are gradually evolving from the basic model of offering point-to-point voice centric services into more complex service provision platforms. Mobile operators have rolled-out their networks: service and content differentiation is now their major driver to attract new customers.
Content portals offering multimedia services are one part of this strategy, bringing multimedia streaming content to the mobile costumer. An analysis of recently launched mobile business offers unveils a trend towards services based on the channel delivery model: content is aggregated into a few channels and pushed to many subscribed users. Examples are content-to-person MMS goal notification (one club = one channel) and mobile TV.
It is thus natural that channel delivery to large subscription groups prefer to resort to broadcast capabilities – after all, the radio link inherently supports broadcasting.
Different alternatives are currently being developed to support mobile broadcast. Mobile broadcast solutions like DVB-H (Digital Video Broadcasting – Handheld) and DMB (Digital Multimedia Broadcasting) are currently derived from already existing terrestrial broadcast solutions like DVB-T (DVB – Terrestrial) and DAB (Digital Audio Broadcasting).
3GPP has mostly completed the specification of MBMS (Mobile Broadcast Multimedia Service) in the frozen UMTS Release 6. Similar capabilities are under discussion in the WLAN and Broadband Fixed Wireless Access (BFWA) domains.
The availability of feedback and duplex channels for interactive services linked to the mediacast content delivery significantly increases the range of services that can be supported. The closer the coupling of these channels, the more efficiently these services can be supported. Since these channels are usually provided by 3G networks, the integration of multicast and broadcast schemes into beyond 3G cellular systems will be an enabler for a wide range of new interactive mobile broadcast services.
The strategic objective of C-MOBILE is to foster the evolution of the mobile broadcast business by providing enhancements to the MBMS for systems beyond 3G.