Digital Mobile Radio Users Exceeded Analog Users in 2017
Thursday, January 18, 2018 | Comments

Market research firm IHS Markit said the number of digital mobile radio users exceeded the number of analog users for the first time in 2017.

TETRA continues to grow, in part from the many public-safety and security agencies in countries across Europe, Middle East, Africa and Asia. However, the highest growth rate is projected to be in the Americas, where the number of active TETRA users is forecast to double between 2017 and 2021.

Project P25 (P25) will also continue to increase, with the world’s largest P25 market in North America, where P25 is the de facto public-safety communications standard. While North America is forecast to remain the largest global market, holding more than three quarters of the world’s P25 users, the standard has permeated the global market, from parts of the Middle East and Africa to regions in Asia — in particular Australia, where the topography of the region suits the deployment of high-powered P25 equipment. Asia will be the largest growth market for P25, nearly doubling the number of active users between 2017 and 2021.

Mission-critical applications continue to make up a major part of the mobile radio market. The installed base of public-safety and security applications made up more than 40 percent of the LMR market in 2017. However with globalization, an optimistic global economic outlook and increasing investment, non-public-safety and security sectors will experience significant growth as well.

IHS Markit said other global technologies, such as Digital Mobile Radio (DMR), NXDN and Professional Digital Trunking (PDT), have been successful globally. The largest markets are North America and Asia, which together accounted for two-thirds of other digital users in 2017.

In developing regions, where there is no single national adoption of TETRA, Tetrapol, P25 and other high-end technologies, adoption rates of other digital technology by public-safety and security organizations will be more prevalent. In more developed regions, where the private sector accounts for a larger proportion of economic growth, the transportation and industrial sectors will be the largest adopters of other digital technologies. Consequently, non-TETRA and non-P25 digital technologies are the fastest-growing mobile radio technologies in the world, as business-critical users in the developed world and the increasing popularity of trunked systems appeal to mission-critical users.

Alongside the growth of mobile radio digital technologies, Long Term Evolution (LTE) for mission-critical communications has developed. Private LTE networks have emerged in China, South America, Australia, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Ghana, Kenya and Nigeria. National LTE networks aim to be deployed in South Korea and the United Kingdom, and Angola has opted for a TETRA and LTE convergence solution for its national communications network. The United States has affirmed its commitment to roll out a nationwide LTE network, as AT&T secured a 25-year contract to build and maintain the network.

Despite the emergence of LTE technology, LMR adoption will continue to grow, as LTE becomes more established and proves its capability to meet the specific critical voice communications requirements of emergency services. In the short term, LTE will complement critical voice with data, rather than replace LMR altogether. Only in the medium to long term could LTE substitute for TETRA, Tetrapol or other high-end digital technologies, as capital investments are considered in nationwide or large-scale deployments, the firm said.

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On 1/24/18, Norman Hill said:
I would place my bets on dPMR, NXDN and Digital Mobile Radio (DMR) for small businesses with only a few channels and TETRA for large transportation services, although some in the New York and New Jersey area may require quite a few repeaters. I'm going DMR this year; radios are affordable. Time marches on.

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