Motorola Solutions (NYSE:MSI) and Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ) announced a solution that enables public-safety agencies to access Verizon's LTE network as well as leverage LTE applications as a supplement to the private LTE networks that agencies will be building out in the 700 MHz band.
According to Urgent Communications, Motorola is working with more than 200 public-safety agencies to deploy LTE networks, but funding problems have caused many to delay construction entirely and significantly reduce their buildouts. With its new alliance with Verizon, Motorola wants to give public-safety customers the ability to leverage Verizon's network where no coverage is available as well as enable them to share cell sites with the operator.
"The solution that we've worked out with Verizon is to... offer customers the ability of a nationwide, enhanced carrier roaming package that pre-negotiates the technical and some of the business interfaces between private and public networks," Rick Keith, Motorola Solutions senior director of LTE product management, told Urgent Communications. "So, we can facilitate nationwide roaming, we can put in real-time device application control and management and be able to facilitate procedural operations on handsets, whether they're in public networks or in private networks, so they get a very similar experience."
That means Motorola devices will have the ability to roam between Verizon's Band 13 700 MHz frequencies and public safety's Band 14 spectrum. In addition, the devices will be able to access Verizon's 2G/3G networks and will include Wi-Fi connectivity, he said.
Of course, public-safety agencies would be required to subscribe to Verizon's 4G service, but the operator has indicated it will offer several tiers of service at varying rates--depending on the needs of emergency users.
"There's a bit of continuum until a (private public-safety) network is built out," Dominic Demark, director of LTE strategy with Verizon, told the publication. "We're inviting people to utilize the Verizon Wireless network today, get firsthand experience on 4G LTE, so they can port or develop applications in it that will transition into their own network... We're creating a rate plan to allow for that transition very flexibly, so the migration path really works well for public safety and allows them to somewhat seamlessly move into that private network."
While the FCC continues to decide the fate of the D-block spectrum, it has been granting public-safety entities permission to build out LTE networks using 10 megahertz of spectrum these agencies were granted back in 1997. Pressure is mounting, however, for the FCC to grant D-block spectrum directly to public-safety users rather than auction it off to commercial operators and give public priority access on commercial networks.
The Obama administration recently backed a plan to allocate the D block of the 700 MHz band of spectrum directly to public-safety groups, a position at odds with the FCC's strategy to re-auction the spectrum.
- see this Urgent Communications article
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