OTT & Digital

Optus to tap 5G for live Premier League streaming

World-first technology initiative comes ahead of expanded soccer offering.

by Ed Dixon

Optus to tap 5G for live Premier League streaming

In a world-first, Australian pay-TV broadcaster Optus Sports will stream a live Premier League game using a 5G mobile network.

The move comes as the broadcaster’s parent company Optus looks to distance itself from numerous technical issues last season, which included repeated disruptions to its streaming coverage of last year’s Fifa World Cup and the 2018/19 Premier league season. Both were marred by buffering issues and constant lag, leading numerous consumer complaints and the company’s World Cup rights ultimately being shared with free-to-air (FTA) network SBS.

Optus Sport is yet to specify which game will be covered using 5G but claimed that despite criticism of its streaming offering, 2018/19 was its most successful season, breaking several customer engagement and viewing records. The broadcaster asserts its subscribing account base is now more than 700,000.

Clive Dickens, Optus vice president, TV, content and product development, said: “Making the Premier League available on Optus Sport through 5G is a world first. This will be the first of many 5G initiatives we will take at Optus.”

The news forms part of Optus Sports’ plans for the forthcoming Premier League season. It will be the exclusive provider of every live game in Australia for the English top-flight after pipping SBS to the rights. It previously had a sublicensing deal with Optus that allowed it to show one Premier League game every Saturday.

Now as the sole broadcaster for the soccer league in Australia, Optus Sports will introduce an AUS$10 (US$6.8) add-on for existing pre-paid customers, giving them access to premium sports content for up to 28 days. The offer also covers the Uefa’s Champions League, Europa League and Euro 2020 competitions as the broadcaster plots strong customer growth.

Additionally, Optus Sport is making all 380 Premier League games this season available on-demand, with the first match of the season kicking off on 9th August as Liverpool host newly-promoted Norwich City.