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Digital mobile radio gathers speed

Posted: 20 Sep 2011     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:licensed mobile radio  digital technology 

The introduction of digital technologies such as DMR, dPMR, NXDN and PDT will speed up the transition of licensed mobile radio (LMR) from analogue to digital with its adoption expected to double by 2016, says IMS Research.

Digital technologies were first launched to the mobile radio market in the mid-1990s, during which technologies such as TETRA, TETRAPOL, APCO Project 25 (P25) and EDACS were developed. However, the high price compared to older analogue technologies slowed down the migration, limiting the adoption to public safety agencies and a few organisations from other industries. Hence, only 15 per cent of LMR users used digital at the end of last year.

Conversely, developments within the industry are forecast to result in a faster migration to digital in 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," said Alex Green, one of the authors of the report. "Legislation, particularly in the U.S., will also drive migration. On Jan. 1, 2013, all VHF/UHF mobile radio licence holders in the U.S. will need to have migrated from 25kHz channel technologies to 12.5kHz 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."

The "Licensed Mobile Radio—World—2011" revealed that analogue use will persist for some time. The average replacement rate for LMR terminal is about seven years. Even if all replacements from now on were digital (which they're not), the analogue user base would continue for a long time. 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 be chosen over digital, the report added.

For more statistics and forecasts, click here.





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