According to a research note written by IHS Markit’s Ryan Darrand, senior analyst, critical communications, in 2017 the number of digital licensed mobile radio (LMR) users exceeded the number of analog users for the first time in 2017, with more than 24 million digital users.

By 2021, Darrand predicts that the number of digital LMR users will near 2017’s global total (for both analogue and digital LMR users).

Darrand adds that the number of TETRA users continues to grow, with the highest growth rate expected to be in the Americas. He forecasts that number of active TETRA users in that region will double between 2017 and 2021.

The note also states that Apco Project P25 (P25) will also continue to grow, and that Asia will be its largest growth market, nearly doubling the number of active users between 2017 and 2021.

Darrand’s research also reports that the installed base of public safety and security applications made up more than 40 per cent of the LMR market in 2017. “However, with globalisation, an optimistic global economic outlook and increasing investment in non-public safety and security sectors will experience significant growth as well.”

Cost-optimised digital technologies (a term coined by IHS Markit, which includes DMR, NXDN and PDT) are identified as the “fastest-growing LMR technology in the world” and Darrand expects the number of active users to nearly triple between 2017 and 2021.

“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 LMR technologies, as capital investments are considered in nationwide or large-scale deployments,” the note concludes.

The research note provides a summary of the findings from IHS Markit’s Licensed Mobile Radio Terminals Report

Author: Sam Fenwick