Nokia Re-Enters Public-Safety Market, Launches Partner Program
Monday, October 05, 2015 | Comments

Nokia is re-entering the public-safety communications market after a 10-year hiatus with Long Term Evolution (LTE) products that include added public-safety features and functionality.

Nokia executives said the company will offer an end-to-end public-safety product portfolio based on Third Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) standardized public-safety features and will open a partner business model to help the company expand the scope of its customer base and solutions.

The public safety LTE offering is built on Nokia Networks’ radio access network (RAN), evolved packet core (EPC), voice over LTE (VoLTE) solution, IP multimedia subsystem (IMS), core in a box solution, subscriber data and device management, network management, self-organizing networks and Nokia Liquid Applications technology.

“As a market leader in LTE, we want to capture this market plan,” said Hermann Rodler, Nokia global head of public safety. “We want to address this market. We have added features into the product roadmap, and we will launch additional products such as Network in a Box.”

In August, Nokia announced its Network in a Box (NIB), which integrates the BeOn communications suite offered by its public-safety partner Harris in the U.S. market. The compact, rapidly deployable LTE NIB now offers BeOn LMR applications, including push to talk (PTT), situational awareness, group messaging, location tracking and streaming video over the public-safety broadband LTE network. Nokia and Harris partnered in 2010 to develop broadband public-safety equipment.

The company is launching the product worldwide this week at the Critical Communications Middle East conference and exhibition in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE). The Middle East is a target region for the new offering, said Rodler. The United States, United Kingdom, South Korea and Australia are all additional markets where public safety LTE is expected to roll out soon.

Nokia has a public safety LTE contract in Qatar and several other agreements in the region that it has not yet publicly announced. The company also is supplying equipment to the U.S. New Jersey early builder public safety LTE project through partner Oceus Networks. Rodler said there are three main models for public safety LTE around the globe. The first model is the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) project in the United States where the government plans to build an independent network and is the contracting party. Another model is being rolled out in the United Kingdom where the government signs a deal for mobile access on commercial networks with service-level agreements (SLAs) similar to a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO). The third model follows the Tetrapol network in Spain where the government owns the spectrum but awards the operations of the network to a network operator.

“We are returning,” Rodler said. “We have mainstream LTE technology, and that’s our core technology. … We know we don’t have all the products in our hands, so Nokia wants to be part of the public-safety ecosystem and work with partners.”

Release 13 of LTE, which enhances proximity services or direct mode communications as well as group communications or PTT, is slated to be completed in quarter one or two of 2016. Once the first public-safety features are standardized, product development and trials will begin, followed by commercially available products.

“Tomorrow’s smart cities will be built on standardized technologies with economies of scale, such as LTE for public safety,” said Thorsten Robrecht, vice president, partner business at Nokia Networks. “Already today, LTE mobile broadband connectivity with innovative real-time applications helps public-safety authorities offer a completely new level of service to citizens. We at Nokia Networks understand that public-safety networks must conform to the most stringent requirements for connectivity and application security. Building on our strong heritage of working with governmental agencies, we are now offering the most comprehensive LTE public-safety portfolio to our customers jointly with our selected partners.”

EADS, which is now Airbus Defence and Space, acquired Nokia’s professional mobile radio (PMR) TETRA and Tetrapol business in 2005. 

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