Australia - Mobile Radio Market

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Last updated: 26 May 2015 Update History

Report Status: Archived

Report Pages: 24


The major market for two-way radio systems is in the traditional emergency services and public services markets – police, fire brigades, ambulance services, railways, utility companies, and councils. Private applications are also extensive and can be found in the security, hospitality, education, transport, industrial and mining industries, oil and gas exploration, and on rural properties in the outback.

The market continues to be focussed on replacements rather than innovative developments. The size of the replacement market is around 100,000-150,000 terminals per annum.

While there have been several indications over the last decade that the market was entering a new phase as systems need to be replaced and upgraded, so far this has not occurred. The question therefore is whether the predicted doubling of the market size will occur at all, especially in the wake of other wireless mobile developments.

The arrival of Airwave Solutions in the market was one of these examples of a false start: based on the revolutionary changes in the UK PMR market where the company pulled all the public safety mobile radio services into one national network, a similar attempt was made in Australia. Stimulated by the lower cost and feature benefits of TETRA standard, many countries outside North America are operating such networks, or are considering citywide, county or nationwide networks. The strong motivation for the ongoing success of TETRA in these international markets is the open standard (ETSI based), its frequency efficiency, and rich features. Its multivendor environment is supported by a formalised interoperability regime. However, five years after the technology’s arrival, very little has eventuated along these lines.

BuddeComm has had some first-hand experiences with PMR (in a volunteer fire fighter capacity) and since 1994 we have reported about the lack of interoperability and data access. Now, in 2015, the handsets have been replaced and there are a few more features included, but overall the problems remain the same.

In this report we continue to detail why Australia is not able to afford its current ageing and frequency inefficient closed networks. By late 2010 several state governments were looking at a whole-of-government approach to gain the economic and operational benefits available from networks that are based on open standards and provide interstate interoperability, but again very little has eventuated.

Key developments:

ACT funds $14.7 million upgrade of the territory’s emergency radio communications network; Motorola secures $175 million South Australian government services contract; Productivity Commission called on to undertake cost-benefit analysis for spectrum to be used by police and emergency services by 2020; digital mobile radio (DMR), private mobile radio (PMR), TDMA, Government Radio Network (GRN) Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD), QPS trial mobile database access solution.

Companies mentioned in this report:

ETSA, Motorola, Telstra, Visionstream, MasterCom, Country Fire Authority (CFA), Tyco.

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