Samsung and Korea Telecom (KT), which runs the second-largest mobile network in South Korea, claimed the world’s first commercial launch of LTE broadcast services based on eMBMS (evolved Multimedia Broadcast and Multicast Service) technology.

The service is available from today (27 January) for KT’s LTE subscribers using Samsung Galaxy Note 3 devices. They need to download a software upgrade to access the service.

KT’s LTE eMBMS offering is branded “Olleh LTE Play” and is available through the operator’s Olleh mobile IP TV application.

By streaming the same content to multiple devices at the same time – similar to a TV broadcast – LTE broadcast gives mobile operators the chance to make more efficient use of network capacity than transferring multiple data streams separately.

Samsung provided KT with eMBMS equipment and adapted it to the operator’s LTE network.

The relatively new technology is designed to deliver high-definition video. Samsung added in a press release that eMBMS can also be particularly useful for densely populated areas, such as sports stadiums or concert halls, “where it can provide subscribers with access to multiple broadcast cameras at various angles without delays or disconnection”.

Samsung and KT said they have worked together for “a number of years” to develop network equipment and device solutions based on LTE eMBMS.

At last year’s Mobile World Congress, the two companies showcased the technology.

Handling mobile data more efficiently is a priority for KT. The operator recently reported that mobile data traffic increased by a factor of x350 in the last four years alone.

Its Olleh mobile TV service, offering “full HD” content delivered via separate channels rather than broadcast, has added to the network strain.

Samsung and KT, however, are not the only ones to have claimed a world first on LTE broadcast.

Last October, Telstra, Australia’s biggest operator, said it had completed the world’s first LTE broadcast session on a commercial LTE network (although, unlike KT’s service, it was not a full-blown commercial launch of LTE broadcast).

Using kit from Ericsson, the Telstra demonstration included live video feeds (sport) and devices receiving a large file using a single LTE broadcast channel.

Other large operators are showing keen interest in LTE broadcast technology. AT&T chief executive Randall Stephenson indicated last year that 700MHz spectrum bought from Qualcomm could be used for LTE-based TV broadcasting and so ease traffic congestion on its cellular network.