Home Telecoms & NBN Telstra turns on LTE-B for Samsung users of AFL Live app
Mike Wright, Telstra's group managing director of Networks, at Thursday's announcement. Mike Wright, Telstra's group managing director of Networks, at Thursday's announcement. Telstra Featured

Australia's biggest telecommunications service provider Telstra has turned on LTE-Broadcast technology nationally for its mobile network and says customers who are using Samsung Galaxy S8 and S9 devices will benefit from better HD streaming when they use the AFL Live official app.

For the moment, LTE-B will be available only to the AFL Live Official app on Samsung Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S9 devices, presumably because the business end of the AFL season is approaching.

Mike Wright, the telco's group managing director of Networks, said the switch-on, after extensive testing meant Telstra was only Australian operator, and one of the first globally, to deploy LTE-B.

“With the success of our AFL, NRL and Netball apps, we are now streaming live sports content to a massive base of around 1.2 million devices and sports fans who consume 37 million minutes of live content over our apps on any given weekend," said Wright.

"This season we’ve seen an overall 58% increase in customers streaming games. In some instances, more than twice the number of customers have streamed, compared to the same clash last year."

lte unicast

An LTE-B stream (left) and an unicast one.

In a not too subtle dig at rival Optus, Wright said that recent major sporting events had shown that meeting the peak demand for big events took "extensive end-to-end network design combined with careful network management and strategic investments".

Optus obtained rights to stream all 64 games of the World Cup but a few days into the tournament, the telco has to ask public broadcaster SBS to simulcast games, due to technical difficulties.

The simulcast was then extended to all group games and Optus had to offer refunds to all those who paid the $15 monthly fee it had charged for its coverage.

Later, Optus had to ask SBS to simulcast all the remaining knockout games as well. According to some sources, the company paid about $9 million for the World Cup rights.

Wright said Telstra had invested in network capacity and continued to optimise its network "to meet the demand for video sporting content for subscribers of the AFL, NRL and Netball Live Passes".

"Last year we announced 1.5 million subscribers and this year we are on track to see a significant increase. Most recently, we have integrated LTE-B technology into the AFL Live Official app, which is delivering better quality video and audio experience for broadcast content, even in high traffic areas."

afl lteb unicast

An AFL game on the live app utilising LTE-B (left) side by side with the normal unicast stream.

Telstra has had its network issues too, with its mobile network suffering a number of outages this year.

The telco said in a statement that during a live demonstration in Sydney on Thursday, more than 100 Samsung Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S9 devices were on display showing simultaneous High Definition content from the AFL Live Official app using LTE-B.

Simultaneously, a second batch of devices delivered the content by conventional unicast to show how normal networks can be saturated with demand leading to lower quality and stalling of content.

Photos: courtesy Telstra


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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the sitecame into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.


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