GCC telcos need to invest in mission critical, says Strategy&

GCC telcos need to invest in mission critical, says Strategy&
Many operators have not made strategic decisions about mission critical services despite growing demand, says Khouri.
Published: 16 October 2017 - 8:44 a.m.
By: Mark Sutton

Telecom operators in the GCC region should do more to address the growing need for mission critical networks, according to a report from Strategy&.

The analyst company says that that there is an increasing requirement from emergency services and other users for high quality emergency networks, which can also present an opportunity for a new revenue for telecom operators.

Mission critical networks are essential to ensure that organisations are able to respond to security incidents and emergencies and to serve critical national infrastructures (CNI), Strategy& says in the report.

Recent security incidents around the world have highlighted the inadequacies of existing professional mobile radio networks (PMR) and the unsuitability of using existing commercial networks for emergency response.

PMR networks are often outdated and don't provide interoperability and broadband capabilities that are required by Public protection and disaster relief (PPDR) forces. Commercial networks do not offer the required features and are often swamped with consumer traffic in the event of an emergency.

Telecom operators should look at deploying dedicated LTE networks for mission critical, to meet the unique requirements of emergency services, according to the report. Mission critical networks should provide high availability, reliability, security, point-to-multipoint capabilities to enable group calls and messaging, broadband capabilities, and unification and interoperability between all emergency services on a network.

Despite the traditionally high costs to telecom operators of providing such networks, Strategy& says there is strong potential for revenue from mission critical networks for telcos. Revenue from mission critical LTE in the GCC is predicted to almost double from $1bn next year, rising to $1.9bn by 2028.

Investment in infrastructure and capabilities, represent a substantial cost to telecom operators, the report notes, however operators can prioritize their portfolios to focus on high demand services such as voice and telemetry, and high volume requirements such as sensors.

Ramzi Khoury, Principal with Strategy& Middle East commented: "Operators need to address the widely varying goals of government entities and enterprises. For instance, the police force requires mission critical services that are different from those of oil and gas refineries.  Other opportunities may be unique to a country, for example, crowd monitoring during the Hajj season in Saudi Arabia.

"Although it seems likely that the mission critical market will expand at a significant rate, many operators are still to make important strategic decisions about the precise services they will offer. Those that move quickly can expect to reap the rewards."

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