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    Changing world

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    It’s TETRA World Congress time, and Mobile Europe rounds up the major TETRA events of the past year, and showcases the opinions of two major players (opposite).

    This time a year ago, the TETRA community met in Vienna for what proved to be a fascinating conference. There was a high number of actual end users at the conference, and the suppliers and vendors there to meet them and talk to them were keen to discuss actual user applications and business benefits, rather than preach technologies or even descry opposing technologies.

    This year, the biggest single difference will be that there will be no Nokia. In April this year, Tetrapol supplier bought up Nokia’s TETRA networks and handset business. This major shift in the TETRA landscape brought into the community a major league supplier from the rival Tetrapol camp. There have been suppliers with a foot in both camps before, of course, and still are. But EADS was somewhat different in that while is was solely selling Tetrapol solutions, it was shy coming forward with reasons why TETRA was an inferior technology.

    But Stefan Zoller, ceo of EADS Defence and Communications Systems  said that bridging the technical divide would give customers a choice.

    “We see a global market potential in this field, of over EUR10 billion within the next five years. By having the main technology platforms in our portfolio, we will be able to offer our customers innovative solutions, and serve their evolving needs,” he reasoned.The combined company would have over 130 digital PMR customers in 56 countries.

    TETRA promotional and user group the TETRA MoU Association, said that it did expect EADS to join the association, and didn’t foresee any problems with the integration of a company previously so closely aligned with the Tetrapol camp. Its spokesperson pointed out that the Association has other members who have had an interest in both TETRA and Tetrapol.  He also welcomed EADS’ commitment to continue to develop and support TETRA technology and products after the acquisition, and pointed out that EADS’ position in markets where TETRA has struggled to compete may now open up opportunities for TETRA as a whole.

    EADS is a gold sponsor of this year’s World Congress, and it will be interesting to visitors – users and competitors alike – to see how the company is positioning itself at this most public appearance since the acquisition.

    Contract wins

    Elsewhere, TETRA continued to rack up the contracts. There are now over 700 TETRA contracts in 72 countries. A contract can be anything from the smallest user group to a national safety roll-out, of course. In Europe, the figures presented by the TETRA MoU Association show there are 279 contracts in Western Europe, with 131 in the UK alone; 47 in France and 43 in The Netherlands. There are 78 contracts in Southern Europe with Spain leading the way with 42 contracts. The Scandinavian countries account for 42 contracts between the, and the growing Eastern Europe market has 65, with Russia numbering 33 contracts.

    Of the European contract wins, Sepura was quick to mark up as successes its wins of a number of  public safety contracts in Spain. The Municipal Police of Almeria in the Andalucia region and the Municipal Police of Valladolid in the north of Spain selected Sepura TETRA radios for their secure digital communications. Sepura worked with its partner Telvent to win both contracts. In Valladolid over 500 hand-held and mobile Sepura radios are being used by the city Police.

    There were also wins for the pre-acquisition Nokia. A consortium lead by Saab and consisting of Nokia, Eltel Networks and Saab won the contract to supply the RAKEL (Radiocommunications for Effective Management) TETRA network system to the Swedish Public Safety Authorities (KBM).

    On completion of the project the system will be handed over to Swedish Emergency Management Agency, which is responsible for the ongoing operation, maintenance and development of the network.

    Nokia also won the contract to supply the radio communication network for the Civil Protection and Transmission Department of the Turin Municipality. The system was the first significant implementation of its kind in Italy, and it provides the staff of Turin Municipality with TETRA voice and data services.

    The network is expected to improve the communications of the municipal staff in Turin, providing not only better coverage and functionality, but also enabling better cooperation. Its first users will be the Municipality of Turin and other local organisations who will enjoy improved secure coverage by winter 2005. Later, the coverage of the network will be extended to the whole of Turin metropolitan area, and further to the whole province of Torino, which totals about 3 million inhabitants.

    Motorola won its third TETRA contract in Denmark, with the Danish State Railways choosing Motorola and TetraNet to supply its new communications system.. Now all public transportation organisations in Copenhagen will be relying on TETRA technology and services to meet their communication needs. The contract covers a voice and data network and the provision of Motorola MTH800 portable radios. The network was scheduled to be delivered “before the end of 2005” as part of a rapid rollout.

    Finally, in this briefest of round ups of the major news in Europe, O2 Airwave announced it had been successful in its bid to provide a communications service to Ambulance Trusts in England. Airwave, of course, has already been rolled out to all 51 geographical police forces in England, Scotland and Wales. The Scottish Ambulance Service and the Welsh Ambulance Service Trust are scheduled to make a decision on the choice of their new solution in the near future.  The Fire Service’s decision is still eagerly awaited.

    For all the other news this year, we can only suggest a trip to Frankfurt to see the progress this rather remarkable community has made in the past year. Failing that, read all about it in Mobile Europe’s coming issues and on www.mobileeurope.co.uk.