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UK football club gives 5G broadcast capabilities a tryout

UK football club gives 5G broadcast capabilities a tryout

An English football club is trialing 5G-enabled in-stadia broadcasts at its matches. MK Dons fans at a recent match against local rival Ipswich Town were able to view multiple high-quality streams of the action on their mobile phone as the match progressed.

The trial was set up by 5G Vista, a UK government-backed initiative that aims to demonstrate the potential of 5G broadcast technology. VISTA (short for Video in Stadia Technical Architecture) was set up in partnership with a number of media, network and technology companies such as O2 Virgin Media, DTG, Ateme and Ori Industries.

In-stadium broadcast is often touted as a 5G use-case as 4G struggles to provide the consistency and stability needed for high volumes of multi-stream video delivery. Via the 5G Vista app, fans were able to see six live, high-quality streams showing the game from different angles. The hope is that the extra capacity and quality will usher in interactive services which will provide new revenue streams for clubs networks and service providers.

It remains to be seen if consumers, who ultimately will bear the cost of any 5G implementation, will pay for this kind of enhanced service, though. In that light, football seems an interesting choice for a trial. While there is undoubtedly more money in the sport than any other, there are probably others such as Formula One or Cricket where fans have more appetite for in-depth analysis, rich data and statistics. Currently, the thinking is that type of service presents the best opportunity for 5G in stadia and football might not be so interested in paying a premium for it.

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