SK Telecom and Nokia have jointly developed a mission critical push-to-talk (MCPTT) solution over VoLTE, which will enable emergency services to use the technology on 4G networks. The solution was demonstrated at Nokia's Research and Development Centre in Kraków, Poland.
MCPTT enables efficient communication among hundreds of rescue workers by using a dedicated channel at times of massive disasters. The technology has been largely confined to professional mobile radio (PMR) two-way radio networks, such as TETRA, Tetrapol and P25 used by emergency services, up until now. However, standards body 3GPP has been working to bring mission critical functionalities used by PMR radio standards into 4G cellular.
Unlike the existing IP-based push-to-talk, which is heavily affected by the number of users on the same network, MCPTT ensures high-quality communications as it uses the VoLTE network and supports a stable group communications service - even when there is a surge in users.
This is done through the application of Group Communication System Enabler (GCSE - an eMBMS-based group communication technology adopted by 3GPP) based on evolved Multimedia Broadcast Multicast Service (eMBMS - a technology that can transmit large-volume multimedia content to massive users at once over wireless LTE network).
For this reason, emergency service organisations such as police and fire fighting agencies in countries like Korea, the United States and Great Britain called for the development of MCPTT, and as the result the technology has been standardised in March 2016 by the 3GPP standard body through close co-operation and active participation of these relevant organisations.
SK Telecom plans to utilise the MCPTT solution for Public Safety-LTE (PS-LTE) and LTE-Railroad (LTE-R) in Korea and also expects to expand its reach to countries that are currently promoting the public safety network projects such as the United States (the FirstNet project) and Great Britain (the Emergency Services Network programme).
“For the first time in the world, SK Telecom and Nokia have successfully developed MCPTT, the core solution for public safety networks,” said Shim Sang-soo, Senior Vice President and Head of Infra Business Promotion Office. “SK Telecom will continue to contribute to the successful completion of the public safety network project in Korea, while actively seeking new business opportunities in the global market.”