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IPWireless gets ST-Ericsson behind IMB chip designs for 3GPP mobile TV

UK TDD specialist IPWireless has been pushing the idea of using 3G allocated TDD spectrum for all manner of data delivery to a phone, for as long as w

By PETER WHITE

Published: 11 November, 2010

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UK TDD specialist IPWireless has been pushing the idea of using 3G allocated TDD spectrum for all manner of data delivery to a phone, for as long as we can remember. But more and more it is finally finding some key allies.

Recently it signed up Samsung as a handset vendor to support IMB, Integrated Mobile Broadcast, which is a way of broadcasting audio and video over existing cellular spectrum – so mobile TV in TDD – Now it says it has signed up ST-Ericsson. The two will work together to offer a pre-integrated IMB system to 3G device vendors.

If you are in cellular you know that most 3G licenses came with 5 MHz of TDD, one way, unpaired spectrum for data delivery and virtually no-one has ever used it. IPWireless tried to push this using the prior generation MBMS standard (Multimedia Broadcast Multicast Service), which could be implemented in either TDD or FDD spectrum. Ericsson in particular had a problem with its approach, and wanted to be enabled to build video delivery in a single platform – 3GPP Unicast streaming and broadcasts in one integrated whole. This is because Ericsson is fairly dominant in offering 3GPP streaming technology to most European Cellcos.

The compromise was IMB, which although standardized in late 2008, has yet to have an implementation. The idea is that large TV services can be offered in a combination of VoD and linear broadcasts, with the broadcasts not using up spectrum set aside for voice or broadband usage.

Having got Ericsson onside via the agreed standard it makes a lot of sense that ST-Ericsson, it’s chip partner, should begin implementing it in existing 3G chipsets, so that handsets just arrive with this built in. We should expect USB 3G dongles to begin arriving relatively quickly.

As a first step in the partnership, IPWireless and ST-Ericsson are jointly developing a demonstration platform that device vendors can use to initiate IMB development. The demonstration platform will feature an IMB ASIC supplied by IPWireless and a 3G baseband radio platform from ST Ericsson. IP Wireless says that because of its integration with W-CDMA, IMB allows device vendors to reuse existing radio technology and antennas to create a lower overall bill of materials. It hopes this means that there will be commercial IMB network launches during 2011 and says some partners are already planning them.

Dr. Bill Jones, Chief Executive Officer, IPWireless said, “ST-Ericsson is one of the world’s leading providers of wireless platforms and chipsets. Their platforms combined with our key enabling IMB technology will enable our device vendor partners to shorten the time to market for IMB enabled handsets, boost worldwide IMB adoption, and enable operators to more efficiently use intelligent broadcast to address the looming capacity crunch driven by video and other multimedia applications.”

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