Professional Mobile Radio — the BT Airwave Public Safety Service and the Path for Technology and Service Evolution
- ISSN: 13583948
- DOI: 10.1023/A:1009677432169
Professional mobile radio (PMR) has often been perceived as the 'Cinderella' of the mobility market; however, a wide range of corporate mobile business communications people use PMR intensively, because both its unique functionality and its performance match their requirements better than other mobile technologies. Although there are several new digital PMR technologies, the new ETSI TETRA (terrestrial trunked radio) standard, which offers enhanced speech and data facilities, is a major factor in the quiet revolution in which more and more business users are adopting PMR to meet their mobile communications needs. This market is estimated to be worth over E10bn by 2004 1. TETRA is also receiving global acceptance outside Europe with contracts and/or commitments already in Asia Pacific, Latin America, Africa, the Middle East and China, with interest being shown in North America (Com-Net Ericsson/Marconi contract for Florida). BT Quadrant and BT Airwave have been very successful in capturing a significant part of the UK 'public safety' (police, fire, ambulance, etc) market. A Public Private Partnership (PPP) contract worth pound2.5 bn was secured at the beginning of this year for the supply of PMR communications to the police and other 'blue light' services. This contract has a lifetime of over 15 years and it is therefore important to look ahead at how the present capabilities may be evolved to enhance the service, at a time when the capabilities of public cellular networks will be enhanced by new 3rd generation developments. This paper reviews the BT Airwave service for public safety users and discusses how it may be developed to provide users with greater flexibility and increased working effectiveness.