The Third-Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) defined multimedia broadcast/multicast service in 2005 to optimize the distribution of broadcast and multicast services in GERAN (GSM/EDGE) or UMTS mobile networks. This standard covers the terminal, radio, core network, and user service aspects. This MBMS standard has evolved into enhanced MBMS (eMBMS) that builds on top of the 3GPP Long Term Evolution (LTE) standard. eMBMS evolution brings improved performance thanks to higher and more flexible LTE bit rates, single frequency network operations, and carrier configuration flexibility.
In MBMS, there are two different kinds of services defined. A broadcast service in which every user can receive the information within the service area and a multicast service in which only users who have subscribed to the service can receive the information. Multicast users have a return channel which gives the possibility for interactive services. This return channel can also be used to subscribe to the desired service.