Global Public Safety LTE Market: Implementation of Emergency Services IP Networks Presents Opportunities

Published Date: 11/05/2021

The Public safety LTE market is expected to be valued at USD 5.9 billion in 2020 and is likely to reach USD 15.4 billion by 2027; it is expected to grow at a CAGR of 21.1% during the forecast period. Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, every country initiated a nationwide lockdown to control the spread. The organizations responsible for the health and safety consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic are the first responders consisting of paramedics, firefighters, and the police, along with doctors, nurses, and other officials. These responders need more radios and network capacity to work effectively for mitigating this global crisis. The healthcare workers and the police especially need more communication terminals and network capacity to adequately monitor the outbreak.

The pandemic has increased the need for new types of group communications. Public safety operators need to collaborate as well as work in cross-functional teams. LTE technology in public safety communications has benefitted the operators by eliminating the interconnectivity issues, thus providing an added advantage during group communications.

Spectrum is a scarce resource, and hence, it requires to be used efficiently. Each frequency range has a unique band designator, and each frequency range performs a specific function. According to the radio regulations and norms of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), the available frequency spectrum is shared by different civil, government, and military users. LTE frequencies are divided into paired and unpaired bands. According to ITU, in Europe, over 600 MHz of spectrum is available for mobile operators using 800; 900; 1,800; 2,100; and 2,600 MHz frequency division duplex (FDD) and time division duplex (TDD) bands. In the US, LTE networks are available on 700 and 1,700/2,100 MHz frequencies. In Japan, LTE deployments have started using the 2,100 MHz band, followed by 800; 1,500; and 1,700 MHz bands. The 700 MHz band is an important band of the spectrum available for both, commercial wireless and public safety communication. This 108 MHz band of the spectrum having frequencies ranging from 698 MHz to 806 MHz allows 700 MHz signals to penetrate buildings and walls easily. It can also be used to cover large geographic areas with limited infrastructures (relative to high-frequency bands). The First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) is an independent authority of the US Department of Commerce, having the responsibility of deploying and operating the nationwide public safety broadband network in the country. Presently, low-power wide-area (LPWA) technologies such as LoRa and narrowband IoT (NB-IoT) are limited to IoT applications such as smart meters and smart parking.

Large-scale adoption of these LPWA technologies in public safety applications is expected to offer growth opportunities for different stakeholders. Frequent broadcast of sizeable payloads and mobility support are the 2 major applications of LPWA technologies in public safety. In February 2019, AT&T started the evaluation of LTE for machines or LTE-M for the public safety networks of the US through FirstNet. The company is evaluating the adoption of LTE-M to ensure the quality of service, priority, and preemption (QPP) on LTE networks. In May 2019, KT and Samsung partnered to deploy NB-IoT in South Korea by 2020 for different public safety applications.

Some of the major players operating in the market are AT&T Inc., Telefonaktiebolaget LM Ericsson, Cisco Systems, Inc., Samsung Electronics, Bittium, Nokia Corporation, Cobham PLC, Motorola Solutions, Airbus SE, and General Dynamics Corporation.

Currently, public safety LTE market in North America holds the largest market share of the global market. However, public safety LTE market in Europe is estimated to record the fastest growth rate followed by the market in Asia Pacific region. As the information technology and telecommunication industry in European and East Asian nations is witnessing considerable growth, public safety LTE solution providers are focusing on expanding their businesses towards these regions. Rising demand for rugged devices with small form factor for application in harsh environments and the increasing number of mobile workers is motivating telecom companies to develop innovative LTE based mobile communication solutions in order to meet the growing demands of customers in such nations.