Vodafone Hutchison Australia has signed up to a new Nokia-led group that aims to boost the use of 4G LTE technology by public safety agencies as well as the adoption of associated standards.
Nokia said the new Mission Critical Communications Alliance has more than 10 members including public safety agencies and mobile network operators.
“VHA is pleased to be part of the alliance to explore opportunities to deliver improved safety capability for the Australian public,” said Vodafone’s general manager technology strategy, Easwaren Siva.
“We see the alliance as being a really important step in collaborating and developing the best ideas into solutions that leverage commercial 4G networks to provide improved public safety.”
“VHA is very keen to expand its focus and expertise in the area of public safety, and we congratulate Nokia for bringing together operators and government agencies from around the globe to better understand the role mobile networks can play in our evolving world,” Siva said.
Tapping the private sector for mobile broadband capabilities that can be employed public safety agencies, such as police, fire, ambulance and other emergency services, is the “most efficient, effective and economical” option, according to a research report released in January by Australia’s Productivity Commission.
The PC concluded that over a 20-year period the provision by Australia's private sector of mobile broadband services over commercial infrastructure would cost $2.2 billion, compared to $6.2 billion for a dedicated mobile broadband network for public safety agencies.
Although a dedicated network running on a dedicated spectrum would give emergency services increased control over the delivery of mobile broadband services, it would be no guarantee of congestion-free access when responding to incidents, the report said.
“The Mission Critical Communications Alliance will work towards realising the unique benefits of LTE in public safety, enabling national, regional and local authorities to provide a higher level of safety and security for their citizens, while creating innovative new business models for service providers,” Ashish Chowdhary, Nokia’s chief customer operations officer, said in a statement.
“We look forward to welcoming other members to the Alliance who are committed to using 4G technology to enhance the effectiveness of mission-critical services."
South Korea’s SK Telecom and Nokia in February trialed a portable all-in-one Public Safety-LTE (PS-LTE) network system designed for first responders.In Australia, Telstra has promoted the use of its LTE Advanced Network for Emergency Services (LANES) offering, which allows the telco to set aside a portion of its 4G spectrum for use by emergency services.