5G Broadcast allows viewers to stream live and on-demand television to smartphones and other devices without mobile internet or even a SIM card.
A demo of how that works in practice was showcased at this week’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.
At the event, broadcast transmitter and media technology company Rohde & Schwarz joined forces with hardware company Qualcomm Technologies, Inc to demonstrate the possibilities of 5G Broadcast.
During the demonstration a live signal was transmitted over-the-airwaves inside the Fira Gran Via in Barcelona, from the Rohde & Schwarz booth, using sectorized antenna systems supplied by Cellnex, to a smartphone form-factor test device from Qualcomm Technologies.
The 5G Broadcast solution was built on the 3GPP Rel-16 feature-set, operating in a Receive-Only Mode (ROM), Free-To-Air (FTA) and without the need for a SIM card (SIM-free reception).
The demonstration was conducted using the UHF frequency band, traditionally used for terrestrial TV services. 5G Broadcast can utilise both traditional ‘high power, high tower’ transmitter sites already used for TV, alongside smaller filler sites, like current 4G/5G mobile sites.
The 5G Broadcast transmission carried three services: two TV channels and one radio station from Spain’s public broadcaster.
Manfred Reitmeier, Vice President Broadcasting and Amplifier Systems at Rohde & Schwarz commented:
“5G Broadcast opens up an exciting new world for the mobile communication ecosystem, bringing with it unrivaled user experience, new revenue opportunities and innovative service models. We are proud to collaborate with Qualcomm Technologies and Cellnex to bring a live experince that gives MWC2022 attendees a taste of what is now possible – and we are only just scratching the surface of the potential with 5G.”
Lorenzo Casaccia, Vice President of Technical Standards & Intellectual Property, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. added:
“We are proud to have collaborated with Cellnex and Rohde & Schwarz teams to bring this demo to life. Our new 5G R&D technology demonstration at Mobile World Congress proves this isn’t just possible, it’s here today on the show floor for all to experience and, perhaps most importantly, without the need for additional chipsets.”
Rohde and Schwarz stressed that broadcast/multicast over 5G is not restricted to linear and live content distribution. It said it “offers a completely new range of business models for delivering content or data to large numbers of consumers and without affecting the regular cellular 5G mobile network”.
Public service broadcasters in other European countries, including Austria and Germany, have been participating in other trials of 5G Broadcast, as potential replacement for current digital terrestrial television services.