Licensed Mobile Radio Deployments Up 4.5% in 2017
Monday, October 15, 2018 | Comments

Global deployments of licensed mobile radio increased by 4.5 percent in 2017 despite the emergence of Long Term Evolution (LTE) solutions onto the market and 5G on the horizon, according to IHS Markit.

Within the market, the number of TETRA deployments increased by 16 percent globally in 2017. European public safety and security continues to be the backbone of the TETRA market, although the largest growth will come from the Americas and Asia. TETRA will continue to spread into business-critical sectors, such as transportation, utilities and industrial.

The number of deployments of cost-optimized digital technology also increased 16 percent in 2017, reaching more than $1 billion in revenue. IHS Markit expects digital radio will be the fastest-growing LMR technology during the next five years.

Cost-optimized digital technology, which includes include Digital Mobile Radio (DMR), digital Private Mobile Radio (dPMR), NXDN and professional digital trunking (PDT), has also been successful globally. The largest markets in 2017 were North America and Asia, with Asia accounting for half of all deployments. Cost-optimized digital technologies will be more prevalent in commercial sectors in developed economies with nationwide networks and in public safety and security organizations in developing regions where no nationwide network exists.

Project 25 (P25) continued its success in the North American market, up by 4.3 percent. P25 will also continue to increase its footprint, with the world’s largest single P25 market located in North America. Suppliers of P25 contracted for large-scale network upgrades during 2018. North America is forecast to remain the largest global market for P25, holding more than three-quarters of the world’s P25 users; however, P25 has also permeated elsewhere in the global market.

TETRAPOL continues to attract refreshment cycles, as high-end government agencies rely on the security and resilience that TETRAPOL offers. Examples include the Fort Irwin United States Army training base in California, which opted to upgrade its network with TETRAPOL IP technology in 2018, and a midlife upgrade of the POLYCOM network in Switzerland, which will extend the life of the network to 2030 and beyond.

The market research firm said overall digitization continues in the industry, as the number of digital users exceeded the number of analog users for the first time in 2017. However, a significant number of analog users have not yet converted to digital radio protocols. The global success of digital technologies has been multifaceted, as multi-tiered options, greater competition and advances in capabilities have provided an increasingly cost-effective migration path from analog to digital communications. Users are turning to trunked cost-optimized digital solutions to meet their scalable communications requirements.

The deployment of trunked networks has increased significantly during the past couple of years, as transportation hubs, utilities companies, mines, and public-safety and security organizations have adopted mobile radio technologies.

Despite consolidation among suppliers, the overall landscape has become more competitive. Increased price competition has reduced barriers to entry, and technological innovations have increased the number of choices, either by provider or protocol.

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, as investment into LTE is required to continue to increase coverage and resilience.

Only in the next five to 10 years could LTE substitute for TETRA, TETRAPOL or other high-end LMR technologies, as capital investments are considered in nationwide or large-scale deployments, the firm said.

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