Mladen Vratonjić speaks to Sam Fenwick about TCCA’s strategy and priorities, along
with some of the biggest issues in the mission-critical communications market
www.criticalcomms.com October 2019
Tell us about TCCA board’s revised strategy.
We have refreshed and simplified the existing TCCA
strategy, acknowledging the changing roles of narrowband
and critical broadband, and the state of play across different
global markets. The revised strategy will see TCCA extending
its relationships with global, regional and national policymaking
bodies. We will aim to shape policy that is conducive
to expanding critical communications broadband capabilities
while at the same time ensuring the longevity of TETRA.
Looking to 5G, we will strengthen our liaison with industryspecific
organisations to identify and develop common areas
of interest that fall under the critical communications field.
We will also work to ensure mission-critical-related 3GPP
broadband testing and interoperability gaps are addressed,
and support where necessary with additional expert resources,
certification processes and systems. TCCA will collaborate
with our members and partners to analyse how multi-vendor
testing and interoperability testing is best achieved.
The major developments driving this evolution of TCCA’s
strategic directions can be summarised as:
• good progress in the development of critical
communications broadband elements of 3GPP standards
• uncertainty related to the allocation of sufficient dedicated
spectrum to PPDR agencies
• the shift towards public operators as (future) providers of
critical communications services.
Our revised strategy will better position TCCA to continue
to lead the transformation of critical communications, with
the major goal, as ever, to best serve our members and the
whole critical communications community.
What is TCCA currently doing to promote the
interests of the utilities and transport sectors?
PMR systems are widely used in transport, utilities and many
other sectors. This will remain the case for many years to
come. There are cases of recent switching from GSM-R to
TETRA in railways. TCCA will continue to run TETRArelated
activities through TC TCCE in ETSI but also,
through its working groups – the Technical Forum, Security
and Fraud Prevention Group as well as the TETRA Industry
Group – protecting and evolving the standard and promoting
the benefits of TETRA to users worldwide. TCCA will also
take care that specific business-critical features are implemented
in 3GPP standards too. Two pillars of 5G communications:
mMTC (massive machine type communications) and URLLC
(ultra-reliable low-latency communications) are also of huge
importance for non-mission-critical sectors and we’ll make sure
that their needs are properly addressed through our SCADA and
IoT, CCBG and New Technologies expert groups.
Given that the initial meeting of the International
Governmental Operators’ Forum (IGOF) indicated
that cybersecurity in the context of broadband
environments is the most important issue for its
members, what is TCCA looking to do around this?
Because of the interconnectedness and evolving architecture
of future broadband networks, security is considered one of
the most important topics that must be addressed by TCCA
community. Through our SFPG, CCBG and other working
groups TCCA works collaboratively with ETSI, 3GPP and other
relevant organisations such as GSMA security working groups
to ensure all mission-critical-related broadband security gaps are
addressed. It will produce appropriate security documentation
including that related to the wider security context, and provide
professional guidance to TCCA membership.
Part of the rationale behind TCCA’s involvement
in 3GPP is to help realise the greatest possible
economies of scale for users of critical
communications, through better alignment with the
wider telecommunications industry. Tell us more.
TETRA, P25, DMR are open standards, but they are dedicated
standards for critical communications. By entering the 3GPP
world, critical communications are now mainstream. 3GPP
broadband standards incorporate critical user requirements and
features. With TCCA’s continuous support and involvement
Because of the interconnectedness
and evolving architecture of future
broadband networks, security is considered
one of the most important topics that
must be addressed