EADS Wins EUR 1 Bn National TETRA Radio Contract in Germany
EADS recently announced a contract win of up to EUR 1 billion from the Procurement Office in Germany’s Federal Ministry of the Interior. The BOS digital radio system for German security authorities and organizations will feature EADS as prime contractor, working together with Siemens to build a nationwide TETRA digital radio network by December 31, 2010. EADS Secure Networks within the Defence and Communications Systems (DCS) Business Unit bears the responsibility for the project within EADS.
TETRA? And how does this relate to the EADS “TETRAPOLBw” military radio contract win in Germany about a year ago?
TETRA is an abbreviation of TErrestrial Trunked RAdio. It has been defined and approved by the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI), and is a standard for radio communication in the same way that GSM is a mobile telephony standard. The main differences between these cellular professional mobile radio (PMR) systems and public mobile radio systems such as GSM are faster call set-up, group calls, priority calls, encryption, and ability to make direct calls without connection via a base station.
TETRA was adopted by the European Telecommunications Standardisation Institute (ETSI) as the European standard. Meanwhile, the TETRAPOL Standard has been recognized since 1996 by bodies such as the International Telecommunication Union; CEPT; European Police Co-operation Council; ETSI Board (in March 1999 ETSI accepted the Tetrapol Publicly Available Specification – TETRAPOL is fully compliant with the ETSI Technical Specifications [ETS]); and The Radio Communication Agency.
The first TETRA systems were installed in 1997. The FDMA-based Tetrapol delivered operational systems at an earlier date, rolling out the world’s first large-scale digital PMR network in 1988 (RUBIS for the French National Gendarmarie). This makes Tetrapol an older and more mature system with a successful history of use in large-scale/national networks. TETRA is in earlier stages, but after 13 years has acquired substantial momentum of its own. Earlier this year, for instance, EADS also won a national TETRA-based contract for Hungary, linking a range of players from the Hungarian Army to its water directorate.
The big market shift came in April 2005 when EADS, which had previously spent a great deal of effort casting doubts on the technical efficiency and cost base of Nokia’s TETRA networks, bought Nokia’s TETRA business and suddenly became a top player in both standards.
A written offer for Germany’s TETRA-based BOS system was submitted on December 6, 2005, followed by laboratory test to verify the proposed technical characteristics and field tests in Berlin and Baden-Wurttemberg. With the signing of this contract, some subnetworks are expected to be up and running before the end of 2006.
EADS and its partner companies have set up 30 nationwide BOS networks to date, 11 of which are in Europe.