Today IGB’s Managing Director Mr. Ahmad Alwajih participated in the panel discussion about the move towards hybrid networks, which discussed the implementation strategies for hybrid networks, looking at the implications of different business models and operator approaches. The session was part of the Critical Communication MENA event (https://tmt.knect365.com/critical-communications-mena/).
In the discussions, Mr. Alwajih explained that the hybrid network concept is not a new one within the industry, as many TETRA users organizations started utilizing mobile data services made available by commercial service providers many years ago (starting with GPRS, 3G and now LTE). TETRA simply was not able to coop with the high demand on data and a solution was found in this partnership with the commercial service providers.
The new development brought on the table today by some of the leading industry players, is the ability to integrate TETRA and LTE and to bring them together to one user’s radio unit, giving that individual user the ability to tap into the best of both (in the past this happened at the level of control room operator only).
The roadmap toward MCPTT, MCDATA and MCVIDEO, led by 3GPP and TCCA promises the mature standards release by 2018-2019, after that around two more years are required by the manufacturers to develop, test, produce and ship working systems (if everything goes as planned and a commercial incentive is there for those manufacturers to invest in such development work).
Figure 1: Roadmap to LTE
This also adds to the importance, of putting the functionalities offered by those hybrid network approaches, NOW! instead of waiting for a new LTE standard, that caters for the mission critical features in its release.
The concept of Network Virtual Mobile Operator (NVMO) is currently the best option available in countries where there is a mature TETRA network and an established LTE commercial network. It will save both time and money, put the new advanced features in the hands of those who needs them now, not later, when a dedicated private LTE network is built.
Gaps in coverage and shortage in capacity of the existing commercial LTE can be addressed in a gradual manner to meet the requirements of the professional users. With regards to the concern related to the isolation between the public and private parts of the LTE, some of the major industry players have addressed this already, and solutions are on offer to deliver that, so the conditions are perfect for the hybrid network approach.