Verizon's Mobile Network ‘Ready’ For LTE Multicast

But Services Are About A Year Away, CFO Says
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Verizon Communications CFO Fran Shammo reiterated the company’s bullish stance on LTE multicast, a bandwidth-friendly way to deliver live TV to mobile devices, but said it’ll be another year before a consumer offering will be ready to go.

But the network was “ready” to deliver LTE multicast as of August, roughly eight months after Verizon demonstrated the technology in New York during the week leading up to the Super Bowl. LTE Multicast is a technique that delivers live TV signals wirelessly to mobile devices without gobbling up all of the cell site’s bandwidth. Instead of delivering unicast streams to each person viewing the video, Verizon’s multicast approach will rely on a dedicated portion of LTE spectrum to place the live event that can be seen by multiple devices that are connected to the cell site.

“[T]he chipsets are now being implemented into most of the devices that are coming out in the fourth quarter,” he said, predicting that it will be a year before handsets with the necessary silicon starts to reach the kind of volumes that will get the attention of content providers.

Shammo said Verizon is having “a lot of great conversations with content providers. They’re excited about it, but again, they want to see how many customers actually have the capability to use that technology and I think that will be a year away but I think that opens up a lot of new avenues for us."

He said the financial structure for such services also needs to be sorted out, whether it’ll be based on a revenue share, an advertising model, or a direct consumer pay model, and believes that will also take a year to resolve.

He estimated that about 79% of Verizon’s cellular data traffic is carried on the company’s 4G LTE network.