Future challenges in PMR Regulation - DOC by syr21332


									Draft Conclusions on the DPG PMR Study v0.6


The Radiocommunications Agency (RA) and Federation of Communication Services (FCS)
have prepared this „feature‟ to unravel the future of PMR. The report and further background
information in the form of appendixes (Market, Technology and Spectrum Access) are
available from the RA website www.radio.gov.uk under the heading PMR the Future.

Digital PMR will be the future technology, but will not get a foothold in the Global
Market until 2004. The UK Digital PMR market will be dependent mainly on the release
of suitable UHF spectrum and the impending completion of the DIIS standard with the
willingness from manufacturers to introduce VHF products.

What is PMR?

Private Mobile Radio (PMR) is a self-provided, closed user group method of two-way radio
communications. The scale of the PMR can range from licence-exempt PMR446 up to a
national licensed system such as Airwave. PMR is used as the communication backbone of
many companies today, with over 55,000 licensees using in excess of 700,000 mobiles and
over 1.5million PMR446 handsets in circulation in the UK alone.

Why choose PMR instead of a Public Network?

Digital PMR
Digital PMR is a title that makes one think, that it is state-of-the-art. There is no definition of
Digital PMR, no matter how it is looked at, modulation scheme or use of data doesn‟t
necessarily give the technology the Digital tag. A few common features of what is deemed to
be digital over analogue are:

        Use of Data for communication
        The voice is digitised
        Easier connectivity to telecommunication networks
        Full Duplex
        Improved security
        Compression techniques
        Improved voice clarity
        Data transfer rates that are generally faster than analogue in the same bandwidth,
    allowing simple/slow-scan images, for example.


The PMR global market is significant, but it remains fragmented by different spectrum
regimes and multiple, especially legacy, analogue technologies.
While the most modern trunked analogue systems are feature rich and stable, digital PMR
systems are beginning to take market share because of their higher data capacities and ease
of integration into other corporate and public communications networks. However, the speed
of migration from analogue to digital will be hard to predict.

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Draft Conclusions on the DPG PMR Study v0.6

The key factors affecting the speed of migration are the cost of the new digital systems in
relation to the analogue systems they replace and, in the UK, the lack of suitable UHF
spectrum to accommodate the new digital systems, which is further complicated by the need
to “align” the UHF bands to bring them into line with Europe.

The initial commercial failure of a national digital PAMR network operation has contributed to
the slow take-up of digital PMR in the UK. Customers attracted to the network with promises
of superior technical performance, functionality and coverage have been disappointed, with
many concluding that they could acquire a similar level service of service through a GSM
contract. However, while damaging, most industry observers regard the failure of the initial
Dolphin experiment as reflecting the limited market for national PAMR services, inadequate
business planning and an over-hasty implementation of an immature technology rather than
being a definitive judgement on the long-term benefits of digital PMR for customers with
typical PMR needs.

Future challenges in PMR Regulation

The new package of European Directives that the Agency will be required to comply with July
2003 (either through the new Communications Bill or through separate legislation), will have
the effect of encouraging and promoting licensing regimes that operates with the lowest level
of regulation possible.
The Spectrum Decision that provides the policy and legal framework for all of the related
Directives has the effect of ensuring the transfer of best spectrum management practices
throughout CEPT Administrations and ensuring open and transparent policies and
The Framework Directive will enable the development of Spectrum Trading practices, whilst
ensuring the safeguarding of interests through notified and registration proceedings. The UK
Administration will take forward its thinking in this area through a further consultation process.
The Authorisation Directive has the potential to fundamentally alter the concept of
authorisations or undertakings from the existing regime (licensing) that is often criticised
within the Private Mobile Sector as being to highly regulated and controlled. With important
exceptions involving issues of public safety; efficient spectrum management practices and the
avoidance of harmful interference the steer will be towards the use of general authorisations
and „light –touch‟ regulation.

The relative availability of UK spectrum in the VHF bands contrasts with the scarce resources
in the UHF bands, whose usage is further complicated by harmonisation issues.
Manufacturers need a global market to sell into if the price of digital systems is to come down.
So far, they appear to have concluded that the analogue replacement market for digital VHF
radio systems is not sufficiently large or cohesive to be able to recoup the level of investment
required. Developments in the North American Market in relation to APCO 25 Phase II
standard are likely to prove critical in determining whether there will be a future for digital
PMR systems in the VHF bands.

UK Regulator
1. Decisions taken by the UK Government in the 1990s have meant
   that only the Emergency Services have been guaranteed access
   to UHF spectrum and, until recently, were effectively limited in
   choice to only one digital technology.

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Draft Conclusions on the DPG PMR Study v0.6

2. The UK Government is now attempting to remedy this position
   by freeing up more UHF spectrum and being prepared to licence
   alternative digital technologies. It is also taking steps to reduce
   bureaucracy and speed up PMR licensing procedures.
3. Initial global trends suggest that early adopters of digital
   systems are likely to come from public sector users replacing
   large-scale, mission-critical networks. Such users are more
   likely to be able to exploit sooner the business benefits of
   integrated digital voice and data networks.
4. The UK appears to lag behind France and Germany in introducing
   digital PMR systems into other (non Public Safety) sectors such
   as industry and transportation, where Automatic Vehicle Location
   (AVL) and Real-time Passenger Information (RTPI) systems are
   providing valuable new services in addition to traditional PMR
5. SME users in the UK are only likely to migrate from analogue
   systems when costs are comparable to current analogue ones
   and the current spectrum access are resolved. This is unlikely to
   occur until manufacturers have deployed successfully some
   larger networks or manufacturers are persuaded that there is a
   business case for designing systems for use in the VHF band.

Digital PMR Systems in the UK
Mention Airwave (the sharers – ever expanding)/GSM-R, West Midlands Ambulance,
Mountain Rescue refer to the timeline diagram.

Public Safety
Insert ISR recommendations, why, when, how much spectrum? Interoperability/Interworking,
Fire/Ambulance/Airwave PPDR

Currently there is absolutely no business case for HSD over PMR links. The investment costs
for such a limited market, which can survive on moderate data levels (the key quality is the
overall resilience of the voice and data links in the most testing of environments not the sheer
speed of the data), make no sense at all. In any case, manufacturers (and the capital
markets) will want to see how their massive investments in 2.5 and 3G technologies develop

6. Will DIIS be the answer to the PMR users wishing to migrate to
7. Will CDMA have a place in PMR?
8. Will 3G and 2.5G Cellular steal the PMR core markets over the
   next few years?
9. Will TETRA remain too expensive for the non-public safety/PPP

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Draft Conclusions on the DPG PMR Study v0.6

10.   Digital PMR446 the next generation, when and why?
11. Public/Private roaming will it happen, could the technology
   make it work?
12.   Multi-radio /SDR when will it happen has it a place in PMR?
13. Why align frequency bands to TR25/08, who benefits? Are all
   bands worth aligning?

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Draft Conclusions on the DPG PMR Study v0.6

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                                                                                                                                  Dated: 24th September 2002
                                                                                                                                                   Version 0.3

                                                                                             DELIVERY OF ALIGNED SPECTRUM
                                         EU DIRECTIVES AND SPECTRUM DECISION
MASTS                                                                                            AIRWAVE COMPLETE
                                           INDEPENDENT SPECTRUM REVIEW                                                         NRN SPECTRUM RETURNED
IR2008                                                  E DIRECTIVE
                                              R&TTE DIRECTIVE
E-LICENSING 1                                    GOVERNMENTS RESPONSE TO ISR
E-LICENSING 2                                                EU DIRECTIVES AND SPECTRUM DECISION TAKES
CUSTOMER PROJECT                                                         DIIS EQUIPMENT
                                                                WRC GENEVA                       GSM-R COMPLETED

                                                               DELIVERY OF ALIGNED SPECTRUM

                                                             HO SPECTRUM MANAGEMENT TRANSFERED TO RA

STUDY                                                        SPECTRUM PRICING FEES                              ALL PMR BANDS ALIGNED TO
                                                             REVIEWED                                           TR25/08
                                                                5GHz BAND C OPEN FOR FIXED OPERATION                           POSSIBLE SPECTRUM RELEASE
                                                                                                                               FROM ANALOGUE TV
                                                 5GHz BANDS A&B OPEN FOR
                                                 NOMADIC OPERATION










                                                    Dated: 24th September 2002
                                                                     Version 0.3


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