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Public Safety LTE Network Adoption Gains Momentum

Public safety 4G/5G LTE technology will reach the mainstream markets after 2020 as trials and deployments gain momentum across the world, according to the latest global market study by ABI Research. Hardware revenue is expected to grow by 30 percent annually, reaching $540 million in 2025.

The United States, UK, and South Korea markets will host the world’s first three operational public safety LTE wireless networks by the end of 2017 or early 2018. Many countries will likely follow, either through a dedicated public safety LTE network or via a hosted or shared infrastructure model.

Public Safety LTE Market Development

"Coexistence with legacy public safety protocols is still crucial, as legacy protocols, such as TETRA and P25, are still being deployed by agencies across the world," said Lian Jye Su, senior analyst at ABI Research.

Public safety LTE offers features that generate augmented user experience for public safety agencies through video streaming, file sharing, and real time analytics, without compromising security. ABI analysts believe that it's imperative that government authorities learn from leading countries such as Australia and Finland.

Public safety networks can benefit from various advancements in LTE. The technologies introduce new applications to public safety LTE -- such as environmental sensors through LTE-M or NB-IoT, real-time surveillance through high-data throughput, and small unmanned aviation systems through edge computing.

Existing public safety solutions, such as Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) and Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) that currently operate in proprietary hardware and software, can be virtualized, secured, and integrated with an overlay of cross-functional data storage, analytics, and intelligence.

The 3GPP standardization process is propelling the trials and deployments. The latest 3GPP Release 13 and 14 introduced a series of enhancements to public safety features -- such as mission critical push-to-talk, LTE device-to-device communications, proximity services, and LTE Broadcast.

Outlook for Public Safety Service Innovation

"3GPP ensures standard features, supports the entire mobile consumer and public safety industry, and allows a niche segment in the wireless telecommunication market to benefit from the economy of scales in terms of user equipment, radio access equipment, core network, and IT infrastructure," concludes Su.

LTE infrastructure vendors -- notably Huawei and Nokia -- featured mission critical LTE as a key part of their product roadmap. Public safety LTE compatible chipset and user equipment have also been launched or planned by major chipset suppliers and OEMs, such as Qualcomm and Motorola.

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