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    TETRA finds its market…


    2003’s TETRA World Congress, the sixth in all, was a little different. Almost imperceptible at first glance, the change was none the less there and it was one based on realism and action. Former Mobile Europe editor Catherine Haslam reports from Copenhagen on  the TETRA Community coming of age.

    At first glance, the conference programme for the 2003 TETRA World Congress had much in common with the five that had preceded it. Many of the same projects featured once again, as indeed did a number of the speakers. So, had we heard it all before? Well the answer is yes and no. Yes, much had been talked about and a couple of the presentations even featured some of the same materia,l but many avoided the yawn factor by backing up claims of TETRA performance with real examples.
    Various emergency service organisations, transport authorities and utility operators around the world can point to the benefits they have derived from fully operational digital PMR services using the TETRA standard. Great news, you may think, and certainly each represents an achievement, but there are two problems. First, these are achievements that by and large have been claimed before and secondly, they do not represent the scale that was originally predicted for the TETRA market.
    While the first of these does undermine the achievements that have now been made, the second represents far less of a failure than it does an understanding of the realities of the marketplace.
    In the conference, feet were kept firmly on the ground by the increased prominence of users, while the exhibition halls were dominated by conversations about value-for-money and how products had been developed specifically to user requirements.
    Nokia’s senior vice president, Matti Peltola explained that its new handset and infrastructure offerings were created to deliver the value for money promise. He said, “The cost of ownership is now a point of competition for TETRA vendors.” Peltola went on to suggest that as a result operational expenditure, which he put at 50-80% of the total ownership cost, was therefore key. The result of such fiscal focus was products designed to provide more for less. The new TB3 Base Station provides a 5dB uplink gain, according to Nokia, and this in turn can increase the cell radius by 30%, giving a total of 75% possible increase in handheld coverage. The performance improvement can also be used to improve indoor coverage.