O2 Airwave is a secure digital radio network dedicated for the exclusive use of the UK’s emergency and public safety services. Designed to carry voice and data communications, the service offers guaranteed levels of coverage across England, Wales and Scotland. This means that users can stay in instant communication even in remote areas or within confined spaces of buildings and tunnels where radio coverage has often failed in the past.
O2 Airwave is part of HMG Critical National Infrastructure and is designed to stay working even during major incidents (like 9/11) when conventional mobile and fixed telephony networks may overload and fail. O2 Airwave is helping to build safer communities, delivering communication where and when it’s needed most.
In April 2005, O2 Airwave confirmed that it had completed it national network and now has over 100,000 end users using its service. This includes all police forces throughout England, Scotland and Wales, organisations with the armed forces, the Highways agency, the prison service, local authorities, CCTV operators, plus a host of other organisations. Furthermore, in July 2005, O2 Airwave announced that it had has been successful in its bid to provide a communications service to Ambulance Trusts in England. Similar national contracts are being pursued in Wales and Scotland for the Ambulance Trusts, as well as for a national Fire services contract. It is expected that awards of these contracts will be made by the end of 2005 by the appropriate authorities.
Further information about O2 Airwave can be found at:
The Airwave network
The Airwave service is based on the TETRA standard. TErrestrial Trunked RAdio (TETRA) is the modern digital Private Mobile Radio (PMR) and Public Access Mobile Radio (PAMR) technology for the emergency services and other professional radio communication users.
TETRA differs from public mobile radio systems such as GSM primarily in terms of faster call set-up, group calls, prioritisation of calls, enhanced security features and the possibility of direct calls from mobile station to mobile station without a connection via a base station (direct mode operation).
Further information on how the network works can be found at:
Demand for Data Services
As more and more customers are using the Airwave service, there is a growing demand for data applications that take advantage of the capabilities of the Airwave service. Within the police service, this demand has manifested itself with the introduction of both vehicle- and people-location based services as well as of a variety of mobile data services. An example of the latter is O2 Airwave’s Mobile Application Gateway (MAG) – a hosted, multi-bearer, mobile middleware platform that has the capability to connect to a variety of disparate local and national data sources, and provide aggregated information back to the end user, either through the use of a PDA, tablet PC or laptop-sized computer.
This is currently in use with Lancashire police, who have mobile access over a GPRS bearer using PDAs and over the Airwave bearer for laptop-sized computers (due to start August 2005). Both of these devices have access to:
* PNC (police national computer) – a national data source
* Missing From Homes database – a local data source
* My Tasks database – a local data source
Toward the end of 2005, O2 Airwave will be announcing details of its MAG Developers Programme, which will grant to accredited application developers, the ability to develop applications that can be hosted on the MAG platform. Should you want to develop applications that are hosted in this environment and want further details on this programme in the interim, please contact Peter Carrasco, Alliances Manager.