Telstra enables push-to-talk calls via LTE-B with Motorola, Ericsson, Qualcomm

Motorola Solutions has announced the success of a push-to-talk call over Telstra's LTE-Broadcast network in partnership with Qualcomm and Ericsson.

Motorola Solutions, Telstra, Ericsson, and Qualcomm have announced delivering the world's first LTE-Broadcast (LTE-B) push-to-talk call over Telstra's live 4G network using its commercial LTE Advanced Network for Emergency Services (LANES) solution.

The announcement, made at Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona on Tuesday morning, saw the companies use 3GPP Release 13's mission critical push-to-talk (MC-PTT) standard.

The successful PTT call was enabled by Qualcomm's LTE-B Snapdragon platform; Ericsson's LTE-B network solution; Motorola Solutions' WAVE 7000 PTT technology and LEX L10 ruggedised LTE handsets; and Telstra's LANES solution, which dedicates specific "lanes" of spectrum for allocated purposes and guarantees priority access to a specific part of its mobile network.

The technology will allow public safety agencies (PSAs) and enterprises to extend their PTT capabilities to more smartphone and device users, as well as providing additional capacity on land mobile radio (LMR) networks, Motorola Solutions said.

"While mission-critical LMR systems will continue to provide the critical means of front-line communication for many years to come, this new 3GPP-based technology provides an excellent way of extending the reach of LMR networks to many more technology users, regardless of whether they communicate with a smartphone, hardened device, or a desktop computer," Motorola Solutions executive vice president of Products and Services Bruce Brda said.

The technology will undergo further trials during 2017 ahead of a commercial launch next year. Telstra is also aiming to roll out its LTE-B network nationwide by 2018.

Telstra Networks group managing director Mike Wright said it is important that the telecommunications provider continues prioritising access for PSAs and businesses on its network.

"PTT is part of Telstra's LANES roadmap for our public safety customers, and complements the data and VoLTE services already available using this world-leading technology," Wright added.

Telstra in September announced that LANES would be open for PSAs to use during summer 2016-17, after looking to sell its 4G LANES service into the mining and enterprise industries after conducting several successful pilots of the technology in Perth and Brisbane in 2015.

Telstra also used its LANES service during the G20 Summit, allocating it to emergency services at the end of 2014, also in partnership with Motorola Solutions.

PSAs -- which include police agencies, fire service organisations, ambulance services, the State Emergency Service, and marine rescue and coast guard -- have been pushing for their own spectrum for years, saying they need to be able to access high-speed video, high-quality images, geolocation tools, and biometric capabilities wherever they are working.

However, the Australian government last year determined that PSAs must use commercial mobile broadband and spectrum due to cost concerns.

On Monday, Ericsson estimated that public safety will make up 13 percent of the $1.2 trillion 5G industry by 2026.