Middle East and Africa are fast adopters of LTE and PMR technology

IHS Markit report says critical communications market in MEA region is set for significant growth with TETRA technology leading the professional mobile radio sector

Middle East and Africa are fast adopters of LTE and PMR technology

The Middle East and Africa (MEA) will experience the fastest rate of digitization in the world according to analysts IHS Markit. Shipments of LTE technologies increased by more than 300% in 2015, and the MEA region is projected to be one of the world’s fastest growth markets for TETRA critical communications technology.

Led by TETRA, the MEA PMR market was the fastest growth market globally in 2015, with shipments into the region increasing by 30%. TETRA shipments more than doubled in 2015, accounting for 29% of total shipments and significantly eroding the analogue installed base.

These statistics were underlined by the success of the TCCA’s fourth Critical Communications Middle East and Africa event, which takes place each year in Dubai. “Once again this region has demonstrated its innovation and ability to translate critical communications concepts into reality,” said Phil Kidner, TCCA CEO.

“The Middle East and Africa have particularly favourable conditions for growth in the critical communications market,” said Ryan Darrand, senior analyst II in the IHS Critical Communications team. “As regions rich in natural resources are faced with security concerns, critical communications have become more important.

“The MEA region has been an early adopter of LTE technologies. However most networks have been used as a complementary data service to existing narrowband systems, and it will take some time before LTE is rolled out for critical communications voice.”

The UAE has announced its intention to reserve sections of the 700MHz and 800 MHz spectrum for broadband services, which is expected to promote migration to public safety organisations onto LTE technologies.

Qatar has already built its own public safety LTE network with commercial LTE equipment in the 800 MHz band, while maintaining its existing TETRA network for critical communications. In Saudi Arabia, national operator Bravo has announced plans to replace proprietary technology with TETRA and LTE.

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