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SNS Research: Public safety LTE infrastructure market to be worth $600m by end of 2016

Date: 30th May 2016
Topic: News
Author: Sam Fenwick
LTE, Market report, public safety, SNS Research

chart-1296049_1280.pngSNS Research has estimated that annual investments on public safety LTE infrastructure will reach $600 million (£411 million) by the end of 2016. It also predicts that the market, which includes base stations (eNBs), mobile core and transport networking gear, will grow at a CAGR of 33 per cent over the next four years.

The market research service also expects that by 2020, these infrastructure investments will be complemented by more than 4.4 million LTE device shipments, including smartphones, rugged handheld terminals and vehicular routers.

Another prediction from SNS Research's Public Safety LTE & Mobile Broadband Market: 2016-2030 – Opportunities, Challenges, Strategies & Forecasts report is that driven by nationwide public safety LTE network rollouts in the United States and South Korea, the North America and Asia Pacific regions will account for nearly 70 per cent of all public safety LTE investments over the next four years.

It also notes that “almost all” of the major LMR players are “leveraging partnerships” established LTE infrastructure OEMs such as Ericsson, Nokia, Huawei and Samsung, to offer end-to-end LTE solutions.

TETRA Today asked SNS Research as to what to extent it sees LTE being deployed as a bolt-on to a TETRA network to add mobile broadband capacities as opposed to LTE-only deployments.

“At present, nearly all public safety LTE networks are being deployed as overlays to TETRA and other LMR technologies, with a primary focus on high bandwidth applications including video surveillance,” said Martin Hoffman, senior analyst at SNS Research. “Many of these deployments also utilise interoperability gateways and proprietary PTT applications to support existing LMR voice services over LTE.

“We do not expect to see LTE-only deployments until the proliferation of devices with 3GPP compliant MCPTT (Mission Critical PTT) functionality. The MCPTT voice standard has already been approved and devices supporting the capability are expected to be commercialised before the end of 2017.

“In particular, we expect South Korea to lead the way in the adoption of LTE-only deployments. At present, many of South Korea’s first responders rely on a number of disparate radio technologies* with little or no interoperability. Besides the support of mobile broadband capabilities, one of the primary drivers for the country’s aggressive public safety LTE network rollout plan is to provide a single interoperable emergency communications platform to more than 320 government departments and agencies.”

*Including TETRA, iDEN, WiMAX, VHF and UHF radios

“We believe a number of countries are taking a "wait and see" approach to public safety LTE networks,” adds Hoffman. “The MVNO model is widely prevalent in Europe, with several TETRA operators such as ASTRID and VIRVE utilising commercial LTE networks to offer mobile broadband access to their users.

"However, the scale of these offerings is very limited when compared with the UK’s ambitious plan to completely replace Airwave’s existing TETRA network with a new ESN (Emergency Services Network), built upon EE’s existing commercial LTE network. If the UK successfully transitions from the Airwave TETRA network to ESN, it can be expected to trigger similar large-scale MVNO arrangements throughout the Western European region."

Hoffman adds that post 2020, SNS Research also expects to see large-scale private LTE deployments across the region, as several countries including France are reserving spectrum exclusively for public safety broadband services. In addition to the highly sought after 700 MHz spectrum, France is also considering the use of 400 MHz spectrum to lower deployment costs.

“In Asia, the planned completion of South Korea’s nationwide public safety LTE rollout by 2017 is expected to trigger large-scale investments across several neighbouring markets including Japan, China and Singapore," he says. "The Japanese government is particularly keen to utilise LTE’s IOPS (Isolated E-UTRAN Operation for Public Safety) and D2D (Device-to-Device) capabilities, as a means to deliver high-resolution imagery, video and voice communications during natural disasters.

“In China, small scale private LTE networks are already in use by several police forces. In addition, the Singapore government and local mobile operator Singtel are also looking into capabilities of LTE for public safety applications.”

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