Considered the de facto standard for Public Safety broadband communications, Long Term Evolution (LTE) 4G technology rapidly is gaining momentum within the public-safety industry. As a result, public-safety agencies, vendors and service provider are investing heavily in public-safety LTE, with more than 11 commercial contracts awards (as of March) and several prominent international trials underway. Consequently, the industry’s revenues touched nearly $ 240 million at the end of 2011.

Driven by the growing demand for data-intensive applications in public-safety markets, the industry is set of grow at a CAGR of 90 percent between 2011 and 2016, according to research firm Mind Commerce. This year will see global spending on public-safety LTE increase to more than $850 million, up 250 percent from $240 million in 2011.

By 2016, Mind Commerce expects the global public-safety LTE market to account for more than $6 billion in annual revenues. “This presents a lucrative opportunity, not only for vendors and system integrators, but also for operators, as a vast percentage of the revenue will be generated by operating the network,” it adds.

As such, Mind Commerce expects network-operator service revenues will account for as much as 80 percent of all revenue, followed by infrastructure sales, integration services and device shipments, commenting, “Hence, we expect a number of infrastructure manufacturers to follow the ‘build, own and operate (BOO)’ network-deployment model.”

From a subscriptions perspective, Mind Commerce expects public-safety LTE subscriptions to reach nearly 120,000 throughout the United States by the end of 2012. The number is expected to grow steeply during the next four years, reaching as many as 2 million subscribers worldwide in 2016 as public-safety entities adopt LTE in other regional markets and as private LTE network deployments gain momentum.

There is one caveat: “While first responders will be keen to adopt LTE to increase communications and situational awareness for public-safety operations, it is important to note that this is by no means a replacement for traditional LMR (Land Mobile Radio) systems such as APCO 25 and TETRA, which will stay in place for years to come,” Mind Commerce warns. “Public-safety LTE subscriptions will barely represent 5 percent of the total LMR user population, even in 2016.”

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