Paris, 21 February 2006
In 2005, ARCEP commissioned IDC France to conduct a study on the private mobile radio (PMR) network markets in France. Today, it is publishing a summary of the study which reports on the structure of this market, its economic weight, as well as on its prospects for development. ARCEP has learned a number of things from this study and is considering which action is appropriate for this market.
A market worth €300 million
The PMR activity includes players involved in the construction, installation and operation of independent mobile networks used by businesses or administrations for public and industrial security or transport.
PMR has an unusual value chain: manufacturers control research and development, installers maintain close contact with the market, and users meet a need (or obligation) for secure and available communications. On this market, installers seem to be highly dependent on manufacturers, which control the innovation calendar and the product catalogue.
PMR sales in France in 2004 are estimated at €300 million with installers receiving the largest share of sales (€170 million). This reflects the market's strong orientation towards integration and maintenance services. Annual market growth is estimated at less than 5%.
Prospects for development
PMR meets a structural need: the need for permanent and secure communications resources to meet public security needs, even in the face of a major crisis, will continue to be a concern in coming years.
Two market segments, which are sensitive to this need but are poorly equipped, appear to be particularly promising: cities with 30 000 to 200 000 inhabitants, and regional transport surface regional carriers, such as urban transport networks in large cities, for which real-time security is becoming a major concern.
The market’s growth potential, highlighted by the study, could lead to the use of existing digital technologies, such as TETRA or TETRAPOL, or of emerging technologies such as Digital Mobile Radio (DMR).
ARCEP takes note of the market’s wish to simplify the authorisation procedure for large geographic areas, in order to speed up the use of frequencies.
ARCEP’s objectives for 2006
Based on the observations made by this study, it appears useful to review the availability of the frequency required by PMR players. In the 410-430 and 450-470 MHz bands (available on a first-come, first-served basis since January 2005), and in the 440-450 MHz band, resources are available for site-by-site allocation for narrowband digital technologies, including the future DMR. The 446.1-446.2 MHz sub-band could be used for walkie-talkie applications (digital PMR 446) once current authorisations in this band are complete, expected for mid 2009.
Moreover, in order to facilitate the development of PMR activities, ARCEP is working on ways to simplify the activity of frequency operator-manager, also called RPX, which is authorised to use one or more channels in a region to provide communications services to third parties. This frequency operation mode is an efficient and flexible way of managing the PMR frequency spectrum. ARCEP expects to present its measures to the profession soon.
Last, discussions are underway with the French agency for frequencies, Agence Nationale des Fréquences, on how to simplify administrative authorisation procedures.