The Clock Is Ticking for Mobile Video Offload Options

Two technologies that are positioned to help mobile network operators cope with growing volumes of video traffic will need to improve their market penetration over the next 12 months to ensure their place as long-term options for mobile offload, according to the latest report from the Heavy Reading 4G/LTE Insider, a paid research service of Heavy Reading (

The Mobile Video Crunch: IMB & eMBMS to the Rescue? identifies and analyzes key issues that will affect the global market for evolved Multimedia Broadcast Multicast Services (eMBMS) and Integrated Mobile Broadcast (IMB) through the end of 2012. It examines the cost of adding the technologies to user devices and network infrastructure. The report also looks at the various ways that carriers and their business partners could use eMBMS and IMB not only to mitigate the video problem, but also to turn it into a market-differentiation and revenue opportunity.

“Although only 9 percent of wireless customers are using their devices for video at any given time, that group is generating 38 percent of mobile data traffic,” says Tim Kridel, research analyst with Heavy Reading 4G/LTE Insider and author of the report. “To avoid running out of capacity – and, more importantly, profitability – some vendors and carriers are looking to offload up to 20 percent of video traffic using IMB, eMBMS or both.”

Although eMBMS and IMB are best known for their video capabilities, it’s a mistake to pigeonhole them in that role, Kridel says. “Assuming that eMBMS, IMB or both ever become widely adopted, wireless carriers might be drawn to products that use those technologies instead of clogging up the main network,” he says. “And even though HSPA and LTE enable faster connections and lower cost of delivery, by themselves they’re not enough to ensure that carriers can deliver video services profitably. That reality is driving the market for IMB and eMBMS.”

Key findings of The Mobile Video Crunch: IMB & eMBMS to the Rescue? include:

  • eMBMS and IMB could offload up to about 20 percent of video traffic
  • IMB is relatively cheap: around $10,000 per site, or 30 million pounds Sterling for half the U.K. population, and under $2 for device-side hardware
  • Despite tests by blue-chip carriers, eMBMS and IMB are struggling for operator and vendor commitments
  • IMB’s window of opportunity closes in mid-2012, some vendors and carriers say
  • If eMBMS and IMB flop, it will be a boon for vendors offering compression and other solutions that don’t involve offload
  • Although they’re designed for video offload, eMBMS and IMB can support other tasks, such as firmware and anti-malware updates
  • IPWireless is the vendor to watch for IMB


The Mobile Video Crunch: IMB & eMBMS to the Rescue? is available as part of an annual single-user subscription (6 issues per year) to Heavy Reading 4G/LTE Insider, priced at $1,595. Individual reports are available for $900 (single-user license).

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