Blog post image

21st May 2016


BT and Nokia collaborate on live Virtual Reality broadcasts over 5G.

Big news! BT has announced it’s teaming up with Nokia to research the use of 5G to enable live virtual reality (VR) broadcasts. Why? 5G promises to provide significantly higher bandwidth and lower latency than current 4G networks which will open up new possibilities for broadcasters looking to provide fully-immersive live entertainment.

VR broadcasts would work very well for sport and now that BT has extended its rights to broadcast live Champions League, it’s clear to easy to see why they’re keen to push the frontiers of sports broadcasting.

At the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona this year, BT and Nokia demonstrated how 5G-type technologies could be used to transmit high-quality VR footage by using VR headsets to watch a replay of Tottenham Hotspur and CSK Moscow in a UEFA Cup match. Viewers wearing VR headsets were able to experience being seated in a ‘virtual VIP box’ within the football stadium, granting them a uniquely immersive viewpoint from which to watch the match.

In particular BT was able to rely on Nokia’s 5G FIRST solution, which includes Nokia Air Scale Massive MIMO adaptive antennas and Cloud-RAN implementations based around Nokia AirFrame, to transmit the football match over a super-fast wireless mobile network connection. With BT’s acquisition of the UK’s biggest mobile operator, EE, in August 2016, the UK telecoms giant clearly sees 5G connectivity as a major component of its broadcasting ambitions – thanks to Nokia’s pioneering VR camera and 5G technology, we have a vision of what the future could look like.

Howard Watson, CEO of BT Technology, Service & Operations, said: “5G and VR are both technologies with enormous potential. This exciting joint research with Nokia is allowing us to explore how they can work together to provide a transformative experience for our customers in the future. Drawing on the high bandwidths and low latencies of 5G will allow us to go beyond the already compelling VR experiences that are possible over 4G, and cater for more interactive future VR content which will place people right at the heart of the action.”

If you’d like some details on 5G, feel free to message me and ask any relevant questions you may have. I or colleagues will be able to advise.