Analysys Mason Study into Public Safety Mobile Broadband and Spectrum Needs

Analysys Mason Study into Public Safety Mobile Broadband and Spectrum Needs

LONDON, UK, 8 March 2010– The majority of public safety users in Europe currently usededicated radio networks for their mobile communications that have been designed specifically tomeet their needs. These networks typically use digital mobile communications technologies suchas TETRA or TETRAPOL and operate using spectrum in the 380-400MHz band. They offer arange of low-rate data services, but the speed and capacity available within those networks limitsthe more widespread use of higher speed data applications.

In line with increasing demand for access to information on the move, public safety operations arebecoming more information-driven, requiring access to a broader range of wideband andbroadband applications. These include high-quality imaging, uploading and downloading largedata files, and real-time video.

Given the limitations in the capacity of existing dedicated networks to deliver mobile broadbandservices, it is considered likely that a new generation of solutions will be required across Europe inthe next five to ten years. Such solutions, if delivered using new, dedicated mobile broadbandnetworks designed to meet public safety requirements, will require additional spectrum to deliverthe services required.

In order to define the benefits of a new generation of dedicated mobile broadband networks, and tosupport the identification of additional spectrum, the TETRA Association has commissionedAnalysys Mason to undertake a study to gather information on future public safety userrequirements, based on a review of existing documents and reports recently published in Europe.

As part of the study, we reviewed a wide range of existing documents and reports relevant to thismarket segment, in order to determine:

  • the mobile data and multimedia applications that are envisaged to be in widespread use withinthe public safety sector over the short and medium term
  • the network requirements associated with such applications, i.e. the specific operationalrequirements of mobile communications networks that will meet public safety userrequirements
  • the benefits to the public safety sector of developing the next generation of dedicated mobiledata networks (requiring additional, dedicated spectrum to deliver), compared to alternatives,such as re-engineering existing or planned commercial networks in Europe.

The authors of the report thank the TETRA Association for its inputs to the study andidentification of relevant documents that have formed the basis of the study’s recommendations.Summary of options to meet the public safety sector’s evolving requirementsAnalysys Mason defined four possible evolution paths for the future demand of mobile broadbandapplications within the public safety sector as part of the study. Consideration of these differentevolution paths demonstrated that the capabilities of current narrowband and wideband dedicatedmobile networks used by the public safety sector will not be sufficient to meet future requirementsunder three of four evolution paths that we defined. The only evolution path that could beaccommodated by existing networks is the “steady growth” path. However, this is not sustainablein the longer term as there is growing evidence of trends and changes in working methods thatsuggest that it will not meet future demands.

A summary of the four alternative evolution paths and their impact on network requirements isprovided in

The four evolution paths indicate that a new generation of mobile broadband service is required toaccommodate the range of future data, image and multimedia applications that public safety userswill demand. The options for delivering this new generation of services include making use ofupgraded commercial networks (e.g. using HSPA+/LTE technology) with network deploymentmodified to meet the specific operational requirements of the public safety sector), or developing anew generation of dedicated mobile broadband networks for exclusive public safety use.

Our study has found that, in line with trends already identified, a diverse range of data, imagingand multimedia applications are in demand within the public safety sector. Demand for access to awider range of information is being driven by changes in working practices, requiring access to afar wider range of data sources (textual, images and video) than is typical in current commercialmobile networks. Sharing of data types (e.g. textual, images, video) between agencies and betweenfield and central command staff is being used to establish and maintain a common operationalunderstanding. This has a number of benefits including improving responsiveness, aiding thedeployment of resources and improving timeliness and decision-making in daily public safetyoperations and when responding to major planned or unplanned events.

The evolution paths modelled illustrate the public safety sector’s need for a next generation ofmobile broadband network to deliver the range of applications that are envisaged for the future. Asthere is a limit to the range and volume of data and multimedia applications that existing dedicatednarrowband and wideband networks, and existing commercial networks, can provide, if a newgeneration of mobile broadband network is not made available, some new applications cannot bedelivered. Ultimately, this will affect how emerging working practices might evolve within thepublic safety sector and, in the longer term, constrain the further development of the sector.

Media contacts:
Gina Ghensi, Press Office, Analysys Mason, +44 (0)1223 460600

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