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First 3GPP-compliant public safety network with MCPTT launches in South Korea

Samsung teams up with leading Korean mobile operators to complete the build-out of LTE-based public safety network in 700MHz

A year after teaming with AWS to demonstrate what it said was the world’s first video call using mission-critical push-to talk, data and video (MCPTX), a communications experience designed specifically for first responders and public safety officials, Samsung Electronics has announced it is powering the world’s first 3GPP-compliant nationwide public safety LTE (PS-LTE) network in South Korea.

MCPTX is designed to offer data and video communications capabilities surpassing land mobile radio (LMR) technology, which provides traditional voice-based services.

It is said to open a new horizon in advancing public safety, enabling first responders to be simultaneously connected with hundreds of fellow responders with simplified exchange of videos, images, files and other data during an emergency.

This, according to Samsung, will help improve situational awareness and information accuracy, especially in times when public safety plays a pivotal role in local disasters or urgent threats.

Developed in collaboration with South Korea’s leading mobile operators, the PS-LTE network, operating in the 700MHz spectrum, is designed to offer fast and reliable connectivity to first responders in more than 330 public safety organisations and agencies, including police, firefighters, emergency medical services and the military.

In this build-out, the PS-LTE network was interconnected with the existing LTE-Maritime (LTE-M) and LTE-Railway (LTE-R) networks that were already operating in the 700MHz spectrum.

With nationwide coverage, the network will also serve as a unified platform that helps ensure interoperability among various South Korean public safety institutions. This is said to deliver real-time accessibility and enhanced communications capabilities among public safety agencies and personnel in emergency situations.

The deployment includes Samsung’s mission-critical push-to-talk (MCPTT) technology with multimedia broadcast capabilities, evolved Multimedia Broadcast Multicast Service (eMBMS).

This is said to enable simultaneous transmission to up to 2,500 user devices per cell, which Samsung calculates is more than twice the volume of devices supported by previous generation technologies. Samsung said that it is also leading the standardisation of MCPTX over 5G.

Samsung was selected as a provider of end-to-end PS-LTE solutions, from infrastructure to devices, supporting the PS-LTE network buildout beginning in 2018, and completing deployment in March 2021.

Commenting on the company’s role in the project, Seungil Kim, vice-president and head of Korea business, networks business at Samsung Electronics, said: “Samsung is proud to take part in building the world’s first nationwide PS-LTE network based on 3GPP standards in Korea, leveraging our end-to-end PS-LTE solutions.

“A reliable network is critical for real-time communication among multiple institutions in case of emergencies. We will continue to offer advanced PS-LTE solutions to bolster Korea’s PS-LTE network, meeting the highest standards for reliability, performance and security.”

In addition to South Korea, Samsung is confident that the advancement of PS-LTE network solutions – including MCPTT – could have a significant long-term impact for public safety networks in other markets, including the UK.

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