Migration to digital mobile radio set to accelerate

Migration to digital mobile radio set to accelerate

Market news |
By eeNews Europe

Digital technologies were first introduced to the mobile radio market in the mid-nineties. At this time technologies such as TETRA, TETRAPOL, APCO Project 25 (P25) and EDACS were developed. However, their high price compared to the older analogue technologies has meant that migration has been slow and restricted to public safety agencies and a small number of organisations from other industries. Hence, the fact that only 15 percent of LMR users used digital at the end of last year.

However, developments within the industry are forecast to result in the migration to digital accelerating considerably over the next few years.

“The introduction of digital technologies such as DMR, dPMR, NXDN and PDT will open up the digital market to agencies that were unwilling to pay the prices required for solutions such as TETRA and P25” stated Alex Green, one of the report’s authors. “Legislation, particularly in the US, will also drive migration. On 1st January 2013, all VHF/UHF mobile radio license holders in the US will need to have migrated from 25 KHz channel technologies to 12.5 KHz solutions. In many cases this will encourage a move to digital technologies such as P25 for public safety users and possibly NXDN, TETRA or DMR for others.” continued Green.

The report does conclude that analogue use will persist for some time yet. The average replacement rate for a license mobile radio terminal is around seven years, and so even if all replacements from now on were digital (which they’re not), the analogue user base would exist for a long time yet. Furthermore, although technologies such as DMR, dPMR and NXDN reduce the total cost of ownership of digital to more affordable levels, they do not bring it down to analogue levels. In industries and regions where price is the key factor, analogue solutions will continue to be chosen over digital.

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