Safety Provider Row Enters the 5G Front

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Major Telecom Giants Verizon® and AT&T® are indulged in a serious battle over the rights to sell services to the public departments such as firefighters, police, and other first responders. The ongoing encounter among the providers of the best cable deals is also affecting the 5G front.

“As we build out 5G, it will be made available to public safety, just at the same time it will be made available to any other customer in terms of the network capability,” remarked Tami Erwin, chief of Verizon®’s new Business unit and the in-charge executive of selling Verizon® services to public safety.

She also said that Verizon® would have to come up with new plans exclusively for the public safety departments, “But the intent is to have that same capability available at the same time as the general public.”

AT&T® meanwhile, also had plans to make 5G services available to public safety services, but refused to share details regarding the dates. “It’s essential to ensure the standards, testing, and critical capabilities are properly in place before advocating for the widespread use of this technology within public safety. Impressing the use of 5G upon public safety before this is complete and deemed ready for the public safety environment would show a lack of understanding for the public safety mission,” said AT&T®’s spokesperson.

AT&T® along with FirstNet, which is the federal authority teaming up with AT&T® to build a nationwide network for public safety, are both striving to bring the standards to the required level. FirstNet has even employed a senior director of standards to attend 3GPP meetings. AT&T®’s spokesperson said, “More information will be provided about 5G and FirstNet as this effort evolves.”

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“When it comes to public safety applications, the so-called 5G race is much ado about nothing,” said Ken Rehbehn, the analyst at CritComm Insights. “Key features such as broadcast available in LTE have not yet been mapped to 5G yet. The first release of 5G tackles basic data transmission with network control over existing LTE core networks. Public safety needs the coming 5G network slicing capabilities to gain 5G QoS, priority and preemption available in LTE. The reality is that LTE continues to get better with more flexible carrier aggregation and improved latency. So the pressure to move to 5G quickly should be slight.”

Verizon®, on the other hand, is planning to use 5G to propel it forward in the clash with AT&T® for public safety. Though the two are considered the best cable and internet companies, Verizon® is known as the leader in the wireless services provided to firefighters, police and similar public domains.

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