The Mobile
Broadband Standard

3GPP supports High Efficiency Video Coding

3GPP Release 12 specifications now include support for the HEVC (High Efficiency Video Coding) video codec – H.265, providing a technical solution for highly efficient delivery of download, streaming and conversational video services.

Addressing the challenge of ever growing video traffic over mobile networks, HEVC provides a remedy for operators to increase quality of experience while at the same time reducing bandwidth consumption of video services, typically by a factor of 2 compared to the best technologies available prior to Release-12.

3GPP SA4 - the Codec working group - completed their study of the compression efficiency of HEVC in the context of 3GPP services by conducting objective and subjective tests, producing the 26.906 technical report to document the findings. Accordingly, the HEVC video codec is specified with decoding capabilities conforming to the Main profile, Main tier, up to level 3.1 thus allowing HD video services in 720p up to 25 or 30 frames per second. 

3GPP video services like HTTP and RTP-based streaming (3GP-DASH, PSS), broadcasting/multicasting (MBMS), download and progressive download (3GPP file format) and messaging (MMS), but also Multimedia Telephony Services over IMS (MTSI) and IMS Messaging and Presence all support this video codec and dedicated signaling in the new 3GPP Release 12.

The updated specifications bringing support for HEVC into 3GPP are:

TS 26.114

IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS); Multimedia telephony; Media handling and interaction

TS 26.140

Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS); Media formats and codecs

TS 26.141

IP Multimedia System (IMS) Messaging and Presence; Media formats and codecs

TS 26.234

Transparent end-to-end Packet-switched Streaming Service (PSS); Protocols and codecs

TS 26.244

Transparent end-to-end packet switched streaming service (PSS); 3GPP file format (3GP)

TS 26.247

Transparent end-to-end Packet-switched Streaming Service (PSS); Progressive Download and Dynamic Adaptive Streaming over HTTP (3GP-DASH)

TS 26.346

Multimedia Broadcast/Multicast Service (MBMS); Protocols and codecs


More information on HEVC is available in the following Technical Report:

TR 26.906

Evaluation of High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC) for 3GPP services


Contacts for this article:

Gilles Teniou – VIDEO SWG chairman

Kari Järvinen – TSG SA4 WG chairman

  • DASH: Dynamic Adaptive Streaming over HTTP
  • HEVC: High Efficiency Video Coding
  • MBMS: Multimedia Broadcast/Multicast Service
  • MTSI: Multimedia Telephony Services over IMS
  • PSS: Packet-switched Streaming Service
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