Russia’s Large Analog Base Provides New Ground for Digital
Tuesday, September 11, 2012 | Comments
The Russian professional mobile radio (PMR) market is still mainly analog, but digital technologies are making inroads based on vendor and market information.
During 2010 and 2011, the largest regionwide TETRA network in the northwest federal region of Russia was deployed with DAMM Cellular Systems’ infrastructure, with Tetrasvyaz Consortium as the network operator.
The network consists of 32 sites, and St. Petersburg and the surrounding regions in the northwest region are complete. The installed system capacity is available for up to 65,000 subscribers. The system services public safety, government agencies and a range of commercial and industrial users.
The St. Petersburg government appointed Tetrasvyaz to operate a uniform TETRA communications system covering all public citywide emergency agencies, such as ambulance and emergency services, police, healthcare facilities, utility services, St. Petersburg authorities and the regional civil defense, with more than 3,000 subscribers. The network includes a mobile solution for rapid response services in rural areas. The mobile solution can be switched on in a few minutes, and is communicating with the rest of the system via a satellite channel.
All public transport services covering St. Petersburg, including Taxi 068, use the network, with applications supporting the dispatch control center, signaling control, electronic passenger timetables and telemetry. In addition, commercial and industrial companies are subscribing to the services from Tetrasvyaz. The network has been operational during several major sports events and international political conferences.
Tetrasvyaz also deployed a TETRA network for Russia’s Special Services within the south federal district project. SELEX Elsag, a Finmeccanica company, has been working on the project since 2009, receiving about 8 million euro (US$10.2 million) in orders.
The network will serve the Winter Olympic Games 2014, which will take place in Sochi in the Krasnodar region that includes the Russian coastline on the Black Sea. Radio communications via a TETRA network represents a key element for both the games and the whole Krasnodar region's security.
Sepura launched the Gamma brand of TETRA radios in the Russian market and the first Global Navigation Satellite System (Glonass)-enabled TETRA. Glonass is a radio-based satellite navigation system — analogous to GPS — operated by the Russian Space Agency. The first delivery of 1,500 units will be for use at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics.
In addition to public-safety networks, SELEX signed a 4 million euro (US$5.1 million) contract to supply a TETRA radio communications system along the Sakhalin – Khabarovsk – Vladivostok pipeline, used by Gazprom to provide natural gas to China and Russia’s Far East regions.
The overall length of the pipeline exceeds 1,800 kilometers. As the 14 compressor stations are completed, the pipeline will be able to convey 30 billion cubic meters of natural gas per year.
The Digital Mobile Radio (DMR) Association said that DMR technology is making inroads in Russia as well. Some Russian oil and gas companies and utilities have migrated from existing analog systems to DMR systems and many others are testing or have tested DMR solutions, including Rosneft. One of the country’s largest power companies completed the first phase of migration of its radio network with DMR infrastructure equipment.
Russia’s deployment of DMR systems is expected to increase in the next few years. Replacement of analog systems with DMR is driven by obsolescence, difficulty of getting spare parts and maintenance, a need to future proof investments, and an increasing market and industry awareness of DMR technology. During the past year, three Russian companies have joined the DMR Association.
Simulcast DMR is also suited to Russia’s large areas for relatively low-traffic applications. The DMR association said the technology has attracted interest from a number of public-safety and security organizations in Russia, including the Federal Drug Control Service of Russian Federation to Russia’s State Traffic Police and Civil Protection agency.

Sandra Wendelken is editor of RadioResource International. Contact her at The Quarter 4 issue of RadioResource International will have a more detailed article on DMR’s role in Russia.
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