Digital RadioIt’s taken a decade and half for 15 percent of the world’s licensed mobile radio users to move from analog to digital; however, the next five years will see this percentage more than double. This is one of the key findings from IMS Research’s report “Licensed Mobile Radio – World – 2011.”

Digital technologies were first introduced to the mobile radio market in the mid-1990s. However, their high prices compared with analog technologies slowed the migration and restricted many public-safety agencies and other mission-critical industries.

However, developments within the industry are forecast to result in the migration to digital, accelerating considerably during the next few years. “The introduction of digital technologies such as Digital Mobile Radio (DMR), digital Private Mobile Radio (dPMR), NXDN and PDT will open up the digital market to agencies that were unwilling to pay the prices required for solutions such as TETRA and Project 25 (P25),” said Alex Green, one of the report’s authors. “On 1 January, 2013, all VHF/UHF mobile radio license holders in the U.S. will need to have migrated from 25-kilohertz channel technologies to 12.5-kilohertz solutions. In many cases, this will encourage a move to digital technologies.”

Analog use will persist for some time yet. The average replacement rate for a licensed mobile radio terminal is around seven years, so the analog user base will exist for some time. Furthermore, in industries and regions where price is the key factor, analog solutions will continue to be chosen over digital, the report said.