Czech mobile operator Nordic Telecom and Nokia will establish a mission-critical communication-ready LTE network in the recently opened up 410-430MHz band.

Nokia will deploy its LTE radio solution, IP network technology, dense wavelength division multiplex (DWDM) technology and will install mission-critical push-to-talk (MCPTT) applications such as group communication.

According to Aleš Voženílek, country head and CSO Czech Republic at Nokia, “The network is dedicated to mission critical communication. It means not only that it avoids overload by commercial users, but as [a] dedicated network it is and will be rolled out in line with [the] concrete requirements of respective mission-critical users, with respect to coverage, resilience [and] choice of technology (including cyber security requirements.”

Voženílek told Critical Communications Today that the network is operational but is in a trial phase, with the MCPTT solution having already been installed and additional base transceiver stations (BTSs) are in the process of being rolled. Both the radio access network (RAN) and core network are dedicated and as a result, only mission-critical traffic will be on the network.

Nokia’s Voženílek adds that The Czech Ministry of Interior (MOI) is evaluating the introduction of mission-critical communications over LTE. He expects a decision to be made by the Czech government in a few months’ time. The MOI is considering several scenarios including an open tender for a new provider of a broadband PPDR (BB-PPDR) solution using the 400MHz band.

He explained that carrier aggregation "is an option", depending on end-users' specific requirements and highlighted the fact that Nordic Telecom has a network operating in the 3.7 GHz band (in addition to that in the 410MHz band) and is planning to compete for spectrum in the 700MHz in an auction later this year. The company already has access to devices that support 410 MHz/700 MHz/ 3.7 GHz on one chipset, but carrier aggregation over these bands is currently not supported.

Nordic Telecom plans to use the upgraded network to sell mission-critical broadband communications to industrial internet of things (IIoT) industries in the Czech Republic, such as energy and transport.

Jan Čornej, investment manager, Nordic Telecom said, “As a pioneer in this space, we are looking forward to proving to the market that modern and new generation MCC services can be provided on an LTE network. We are very happy to announce our cooperation with Nokia who is providing us with a completely secure and future-proof solution, dedicated local team, technical advisory and professional services.”

This article has been updated to add additional information to clarify the extent to which the network is dedicated and its current status

Author: Sam Fenwick