At a time when telecom operators are looking to optimize their 4G LTE investments, ETELM is positioning its unique TETRA, DMR and Analogue base station solution to connect directly to the LTE Core. This presents an extremely cost effective, integrated networked approach for the operators.
Paul Ward, Sales Director at ETELM speaks with Zia Askari from TelecomDrive.com about the company’s current focus and how intensely it is looking at global LTE adoptions.
What are some of the key focus areas of operation for ETELM today?
ETELM has been supplying telecommunications infrastructure equipment for 35 years. We are a completely independent company and have specialised in the development and supply of advanced, digital radio communications for the last 15 years. We supply highly secure and resilient technology to professional users in sectors such as emergency services, transportation, utilities and oil/gas and supply globally through integration specialist organisations. The 4G Linked solution is designed to embrace the latest advances in high speed mobile broadband by bringing professional narrowband services into a single network solution and allowing different users to communicate seamlessly over a single fully distributed LTE Core.
How does the organization look at the growing LTE ecosystem in the world today?
LTE has become the technology of choice for mobile operators and users looking to use it’s high speed mobile broadband services. ETELM has also recognised that the LTE network design is ideal as a transmission network for other technologies in addition to 4G. The key benefit is in standardisation, the LTE Evolved Packet Core (EPC) network is open to any vendor and the means of connecting base stations has also been standardised with the LTE-S1 connection. So the EPC represents an opportunity for all telecommunications infrastructure to use the same network and offer users not just inter-systems-interfaces between vendors of the same technology, but inter-technology-interfaces so that several telecommunication systems can operate over the same core. As Mobile Operators deploy EPC worldwide, this gives them a unique opportunity to integrate new enterprise services for professional users over their existing backbone infrastructure.
How does the company position itself to provide TETRA solutions in a 4G LTE era?
Although ETELM has traditionally been a TETRA infrastructure vendor, we have recognised the high demand for fully integrated solutions. So we have now released three different technologies (TETRA, DMR and Analogue) all connecting directly to the LTE Core. This means that Mobile Operators or private users may now implement professional radio directly to their existing networks and offer Virtual Private Network services to professional users – combining the benefits of broadband and narrowband services. It also means that users can retain much of their equipment as they seek to add more advanced data services and migrate to new technologies.
What are some of the big advantages that ETELM brings to the table for operators looking for integrating TETRA with their 4G infrastructure today?
The biggest advantage to operators is that our TETRA, DMR and Analogue base stations will directly connect to their existing LTE EPC. They do not need to change the EPC in any way so the investment cost is minimal. We supply the cell equipment and Administration Software applications and they can then utilise their existing LTE-EPC backbone for additional wider coverage area, narrowband services as an overlay of their 4G services. This enables operators to offer parallel services and risk-free migration to professional users, whereby they could continue to use existing radio user equipment as they transfer and diversify certain users to smartphone technologies. It also allows users to retain their traditional equipment and functionality to ensure that operational disruption is minimal as they deploy additional data services.
What could be some of the big challenges that you as an organsiation are likely to face in the coming months?
The mission critical market is currently extremely interested in deploying 4G LTE services as the possibility of high speed mobile data is very appealing. However they also recognise that the current LTE standard was not designed for the traditional, professional services that they commonly use – although some basic features are soon to be introduced (such as Push-To-Talk, group services and direct mode) this is just the first step on a long road to reaching the level of functionality that is in use today for professional users. So there remains a dilemma that the massive gain in data capability offered by LTE will result in some losses in terms of existing functionality. ETELM’s solution overcomes this by offering a solution that incorporates multiple technologies onto the same fully integrated ecosystem. The existing functionality can be retained along with the ability to have static and dynamic group communications with mixed technology subscribers. This gives the user the best features of all technologies and allows a gradual migration as technologies develop and become more stable. This risk-free strategy is a very important approach for mission critical users that cannot allow disruption of operations and services. There are other major commercial benefits to users, the first is that our solution allows them to retain much of their subscriber fleets and upgrade certain users on a priority basis and where financial restraints allow; secondly as Mobile Network Operators have existing core networks, it allows users to engage with operators to manage their services based on existing and future technology enhancements.
Tomorrow’s operators want to monetize every bit of their network investment. How can ETELM help them achieve this goal in the near future?
ETELM’s solution is ideally suited to Mobile Operators for several reasons:
- Operators deploying LTE-4G will already have invested in the LTE EPC network. So by attaching additional technologies requires very little additional investment for the backbone network.
- Narrowband services are wider coverage than LTE-4G so the TETRA, DMR and/or Analogue base station equipment may be deployed at existing cell sites.
- Implementing narrowband services opens up new markets for professional users not just for secure mission critical radio services, but also by offering value-added high speed mobile broadband services to the same users.
- Virtual Private Networking applications allows for a greater return on investment.
- Customer retention is also very important, as the operator provides services to more professional users they are ideally placed to offer new technologies, services and enhancements in the future.
How does the company look at the future of secure telecoms, what role will be played by ETELM here?
Since LTE has become the accepted global standard for 4G services, there has been much debate regarding the technology’s suitability for mission critical users. This can often be seen as a defensive mechanism by the market wanting to protect existing customers and technologies. ETELM’s approach has been to fully embrace new technology and offer a risk free, future-proof solution whereby a single network can form the core networking requirements for the many different technologies available today, but also allow for expansion in the future as new technologies are introduced. Everyone is aware that mobile communications move at a fast pace, and the last thing that any user or operator wants is short shelf-life technology and obsolescence. The ETELM 4G Linked solution integrates existing technologies onto the latest core platform that will undoubtedly be the network of choice for many years into the future – so the user is not only ready for 4G but also prepared for new 5G and even 6G services in the future!
For more information about ETELM, please visit the website: www.e-tbs.com