Samsung touts role in public safety standards

Traditional land mobile radio (LMR) technologies like TETRA and P25 serve current public safety needs, but Samsung is involved in a new body of 3GPP standards designed to tackle future requirements. (Pixabay)

Samsung isn’t exactly new to the area of critical communications for public safety. It’s been involved in the development of standards for mission critical (MCX) services for a number of years.

But given how its name is not exactly synonymous with public safety, it’s no wonder the company chose to highlight its role in a blog this week.

Samsung research director Suresh Chitturi was appointed chairman of the 3GPP System Architecture WG5 – SA6 work group in 2018. In addition, delegates from Samsung have contributed to various technical standards, including Rapporteur roles in the development of mission critical push-to-talk (MCPTT), mission critical data (MCData) and device-to-device (D2D) specifications.

“Samsung has a long history in supporting the needs of the Public Safety industry both in 3GPP standards setting and product development,” Chitturi told Fierce in response to emailed questions. “Together with numerous partners, Samsung actively supported in standardizing MCPTX to enhance our first responders’ capabilities in responding emergencies. In addition, Samsung’s public safety LTE (PS-LTE) solutions powered South Korea’s nationwide public safety network in 2021.”

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Samsung offers a full suite of MCX solutions over LTE that are available today, so it’s not waiting for 5G in that respect. That includes Push to Talk (PTT), video and multimedia messages; solutions are integrated into Samsung devices and devices from other manufacturers, both of the Android and iOS variety, according to Chitturi. Samsung offers administrative tools and a host of other solutions as well.

MCX support over 5G is expected to be completed in two phases between Release 17 and Release 18, he said. With Release 17 completion expected in mid-2022, MCX standards will support unicast communications over 5G, and that should offer several capabilities for customers. In Release 18, “we expect the support for Broadcast/Multicast (5MBS), and Proximity Services (ProSe) to be available around mid to end of 2023,” he said.

In order to get its solutions into the hands of public safety agencies, Samsung is working both through operators around the world, as well as directly with some public safety agencies. AT&T recently referenced Samsung in a blog, noting it’s providing FirstNet Ready mobile devices and MCPTX network technology with LMR interoperability.

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Chitturi said Samsung has significantly invested in developing a MCPTX ecosystem that provides voice, video and multimedia services over LTE with focus on “efficiently using scarce spectrum by adopting 3GPP broadcast technologies like eMBMS.”

It doesn’t end with public safety communications, however. The expertise in mission critical services and standards applies to communications in other industries, such as aviation, railways and maritime, where urgent communications are essential. As a leader in 3GPP, “we have been committed to evolving the standards and will continue to innovate and collaborate to advance MCX communications,” he said.