The latest TETRA World Congress held at the Dubai International Convention & Exhibition Centre in the United Arab Emirates last week (14-17 May 2012) proved to be the largest and most successful so far, according to organisers IIR Telecoms.
The Congress was officially opened by Crown Prince His Highness Al Sheikh Hamdam Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum on Tuesday 14 May. During the course of the show, 2,950 critical communications professionals attend the TETRA World Congress 2012. This year's event also attracted more exhibitors then ever before - a total of 106.
Next year's event, which will be called the Critical Communications World (Incorporating TETRA World Congress), will be held in Paris from 20-23 May 2012.
TETRA + Critical Communications Association (TCCA) CEO Phil Kidner said: ‘It has been a fantastic year for TETRA with more terminals shipped than ever before. Is it going to continue or will LTE take over? Most estimates say LTE will not be used for voice and data before 2025-26. In the meantime, 80% of radio users are still using analogue, so there is plenty of opportunity for digital solutions such as TETRA to grow.’
Thomas Lynch of IMS Research presented the latest figures for the TETRA market at a Motorola Solutions roundtable in Dubai. He said that in 2011 shipments for TETRA terminals grew by 10% on 2010, which was itself a record year. TETRA infrastructure grew by 4-6% in the same period.
Lynch said: ‘Some 486,000 TETRA terminals were shipped in 2011 and we predict that figure will reach more than 600,000 in 2016 with the public safety market accounting for 65% of that figure. We see strong growth for TETRA over the next five years. The current market is worth around US$1bn a year.’
He added that the European market was a mature market where replacement of terminals and equipment dominated. However, the Middle East and Africa are the fastest growing markets increasing by more than 70%. ‘MEA accounts for one fifth of global shipments, but it is not just public safety; the oil and gas ATEX market is important too,’ said Lynch.
IMS surveyed 260 licensed mobile radio agencies to find out how much they were using data. 80% said they were using data in some form, but only 20-30% of actual radio users were employing data services.
Lynch said the trends showed that there was year on year growth of data usage on traditional LMR networks. LTE trials that are happening are on private networks, however, and public cellular networks.
‘The long-term prospects for private LTE networks show a slow rate of development with under three million users by 2021,’ said Lynch. ‘Regulatory, spectrum and funding issues will limit growth, but in the long term, LTE will develop,’ he concluded.