Technical Committee (TC) Terrestrial Trunked Radio and Critical Communications Evolution (TCCE) Activity Report 2021

Chair: Brian Murgatroyd, Umlaut Communications

Responsible for the design and standardization of TErrestrial Trunked RAdio (TETRA) and its evolution to critical communications mobile broadband solutions.

Developed to meet the needs of Professional Mobile Radio (PMR) users in public safety, security, transportation, military, governmental, commercial and utilities applications, TETRA (Terrestrial Trunked Radio) is the leading technology choice for critical communications users.

There is now an installed base of 4.5 million TETRA users: this market is predicted to grow at 3.7% CAGR until 2022 with a market value of $4.4 billion and then settle at over 5.2 million users in 2023.  While 50% of the market remains in Europe at present, the rest of the world will increase its market share to 53% by 2023. The fastest growing region will be in the Americas, with Latin America forecasted to take 75% of the region’s market share.

TETRA is designed to address a specific set of communication requirements. These include high reliability, single and group calling capabilities, PTT (Push-To-Talk), and the possibility for direct peer-to-peer communications in situations such as natural disasters and emergencies when the supporting network is unavailable. Accordingly, much of the work of our TETRA and Critical Communications Evolution committee (TC TCCE) is driven by the requirements of Public Protection and Disaster Relief and other mission-critical services. 

Since around 2015, TCCE have been working with 3GPP to ensure that broadband functionality matches the requirements of critical communications users particularly when using commercial networks as bearers.

In 2021 our TETRA and Critical Communications Evolution committee (TC TCCE) continued to maintain and further develop TETRA with user-driven standards for authority-to-authority secure voice and data services over broadband and narrowband air interfaces.

During the year the committee published updates to five Technical Specifications, including revisions to the TETRA air interface standard and testing specifications:

  • TS 103 564 V1.4.1 is a test specification detailing Plugtests™ scenarios for Mission Critical Services, now with the addition of new test cases and interoperability scenarios based on 3GPP Release-15. This work reflects TC TCCE’s continued cooperation with 3GPP Working Group SA6 MCPTT (Mission Critical Push to Talk) and with TCCA (The Critical Communications Association).
  • TS 100 392-3-12 V1.3.1 – TETRA Voice plus Data (V+D); Part 3: Interworking at the Inter-System Interface (ISI); Sub-part 12: Transport layer independent Additional Network Feature Individual Call (ANF-ISIIC).
  • TS 100 392-3-15 V1.3.1 – TETRA Voice plus Data (V+D); Part 3: Interworking at the Inter-System Interface (ISI); Sub-part 15: Transport layer independent Additional Network Feature, Mobility Management (ANF-ISIMM)
  • TS 100 392-12-22 V1.6.1 – TETRA Voice plus Data (V+D); Part 12: Supplementary services stage 3; Sub-part 22: Dynamic Group Number Assignment (DGNA).
  • TS 100 394-1 V4.1.1 – TETRA testing specification; Part 1: Radio.

A new TETRA-specific Harmonized specification (EN 303 758) was completed and sent to TC ERM.  It is currently with the EC prior to publication in the OJEU.

In response to feedback from 3GPP, the committee’s ongoing work has included development of specifications covering the detailed interfaces between Mission-Critical broadband systems and TETRA, as well as the required security between the two systems. To optimize this standardization activity, existing standards for technologies such as LTE (and later 5G) will be enhanced by interfaces and applications that make them suitable for Mission-Critical applications.

During the year work meanwhile progressed on development of specifications for additional encryption algorithms to complement the existing set relating to TETRA. This reflects the needs of users to keep TETRA up to date through to the 2030s. A new group has been formed within ETSI (SC TSA-TETRA Security Algorithms) to design new algorithms. 

See the full list of current TC TCCE Work Items here.