Unlike DVB-H or MediaFlo, MBMS (Multimedia Broadcast Multicast Service) is based on cell and UMTS (Universal Mobile Telecommunications System) technologies. A cell network is unsuitable for broadcasting: sending a film to n users is equivalent to using the resource n times.
It is based on existing UMTS networks (W-CDMA type multiplexing) and its deployment costs are therefore very low, even if mobile terminals need adapting (the software or hardware depending on the case). An uplink channel can also be used for interactivity. This technology uses a multicast mode (broadcasting to a limited number of users) and a broadcast mode (broadcasting to all users in the cell in question).
Sharing the 5 MHz UMTS band, the working speed is estimated at 384 kb/s (equivalent to 3 low resolution coded channels, each at 128 kb/s. Its use therefore appears limited to a lighter video content than standards of the T-DMB or DVB-H.
Tests and deployment
The standardisation of MBMS is handled the by 3GPP working groups that UMTS depends on. The first standards were defined in UMTS release 6 at the end of 2004.
The system was successfully tested in China in 2007.