Tait Says No to TETRA Platform (11/25/08)
Tuesday, November 25, 2008 | Comments

Tait released a statement Tuesday saying it has no plans to develop a TETRA platform or offer the European-based technology in the North American market. The statement comes after a push this year from critical infrastructure industries (CII) to determine whether TETRA technology could be used for their mission-critical communications systems.

“We have no plans to develop a TETRA platform,” said Bill Fredrickson, senior vice president of Tait’s global utility sector. “Project 25 (P25) technology is a strong fit for public safety, and MPT-1327 and Digital Mobile Radio (DMR) are excellent fits for transportation and utility markets. DMR is particularly attractive as it was designed to be a drop-in replacement technology for current LMR technology, conventional FM or otherwise.”

The company added that it found a number of problems with TETRA’s application in North America. “We looked at TETRA for the North American market and found a number of issues with the channelization, co-channel interference, and its poor economic profile due to its small cell sizes,” said Fredrickson. “That made TETRA a non-starter in our opinion.”

The European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) is responsible for the development and maintenance of the TETRA digital mobile radio standard. The Tait statement said that in correspondence with ETSI, attorneys for Motorola said North America is specifically excluded from its license undertaking and it will not license intelligent property rights (IPRs) essential for TETRA. This effectively blocks the use of TETRA equipment in the U.S. Motorola contends that it has met its obligations regarding essential IPR in accordance with ETSI policy.

Earlier this year, the TETRA Association created a working group to respond to users from North America who expressed interest in the technology’s adoption. The working group will be responsible for identifying the processes and working with the appropriate organizations required to facilitate the availability of TETRA technology in the United States.

“The TETRA Association has become aware of an increasing interest in TETRA technology from users in North America,” said Phil Kidner, chief executive officer (CEO) of the TETRA Association, earlier this year. “In particular, the association has received letters of enquiry from the Utility Telecommunications Council (UTC) and the American Petroleum Institute (API) representing 400 companies involved in the petroleum and natural gas industries. The association fully respects the decisions made by U.S. public-safety agencies to focus on P25 standards.”

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