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Nokia and TeamTalk partner on connected emergency services vehicles

Nokia and TeamTalk will collaborate on using vehicles for critical communications base stations, as well as on private 4G networks, wireless tech, and IoT solutions.

Nokia has announced signing on with New Zealand telecommunications carrier TeamTalk to provide emergency services connected vehicles, wireless technology, private 4G, and Internet of Things (IoT) services and solutions.

Under the deal, which also allows TeamTalk to resell Nokia software, services, and equipment, the two will work on building an IP/Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS)-based critical communications radio service using Nokia's backhaul network solution.

"A substantial portion of the New Zealand market is not adequately covered by a mobile network, and this raises issues for emergency service responders," TeamTalk CEO Andrew Miller said.

"Our goal is to deploy a country-wide solution that will provide critical communications to the majority of New Zealand's emergency services. We found Nokia to have the right product set and partnerships to make this project a reality."

According to Nokia, TeamTalk, which last year sold off 70 percent of its rural broadband and satellite arm Farmside to Vodafone NZ for NZ$10 million, has been "looking to transition from a pure network vendor into a critical and resilient communications service provider".

"The partnership with Nokia will allow TeamTalk to deliver emergency service vehicle edge, private LTE, and IoT technologies to New Zealand," the Finnish networking giant said.

TeamTalk provides digital mobile radio services, including point-to-point digital microwave radio services, and holds more than 90 percent of the trunked radio market, with 450 high sites and spectrum.

Through its brand CityLink,TeamTalk has a 270km fibre network throughout streets and 70km in buildings across Auckland and Wellington; a free Wi-Fi service in Wellington, which is subsidised by Wellington City Council; owns datacentres in Wellington and Auckland under the brand SiteNet and rents out rack space to customers; provides peering exchange services through ExchangeNET, which has exchanges in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, Hamilton, and Dunedin; and provides custom networks within six cities across the country.

Nokia Asia Pacific and Japan head of Transportation, Energy, and Public Sector Stuart Mac Hendry on Tuesday added that partnering with TeamTalk would allow Nokia to move further into the emergency services networking segment ahead of transport, airports, ports, and utilities.

Nokia had in February revealed to ZDNet that it has been hosting discussions with a Sydney-based university in order to push its framework for drones in Australia with a major focus on public safety.

Nokia head of IoT Market Solutions Mohamed Abdelrehim told ZDNet that Nokia's drone journey got its boost upon receiving a $1 million grant from the Dubai government after showcasing the use of drones in natural disasters.

"The idea was Nokia saving lives," he told ZDNet.

"We were able to demonstrate a use case which was quite interesting for public safety that you have a disaster and recovery situation, say an earthquake or a flood, and you are looking for people. So what happens is based on our solutions, we are able to put all the software of the network in a backpack. And this backpack has the full LTE network and you're having the drones flying beside the rescue operator, like an escort to them. And then they are able to go to areas which people are not able to step in.

"That was the key milestone in drones for Nokia."

For emergencies and natural disasters now, Nokia has enabled a full LTE base station to be put on the back of a car or even in a backpack, providing a small, private 4G network to a radius of up to 5km square providing coverage for the drones.

Nokia's presence in New Zealand telecommunications has also seen it upgrade Spark's mobile and fixed networks, test narrowband-IoT with Vodafone NZ, and work on 5G demos with Vodafone NZ.

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