MCPTT over LTE, or Mission-critical push-to-talk over LTE, was built back in 2016 in Release 13 as the Third Generation Partnership Project that would be the best platform with additional LTE feature that would essentially cater to first responders and other mission-critical communications users.
When it comes to the standards status of MCPTT over LTE, it is said that it was not completely finished with Release 13. As shared by 3GPP, Release 14 covered mission-critical services over LTE, such as video and mobile data and enhancements to MCPTT. It is believed that some mission-critical features have yet not been completed until LTE Release 15.
LTE- based MCPTT is expected to emerge as a vital technology but that may take time. This is due to the land mobile radio (LMR) systems continuing to be the go-to technology for public safety voice communications in the near future.
MCPTT over LTE has not actually been placed in the commercial market, but Verizon has thought of incorporating this feature, as an augmentation to LMR rather than replacement, in their network by the end of this year.
According to Chris Sambar, SVP for AT&T-FirstNet, the company is also making efforts to provide MCPTT. For this, AT&T/FirstNet has been in conversation with vendors for the prospective deals.
To test the interoperability of mission-critical LTE offerings, The European Telecommunications Standards Institute arranged a “plugtest” event last year for the vendors. ETSI has also planned for one such event in the next month in College Station, Tex.
Being first such interoperability testing event held in the U.S., the plugtest will assess ideas like how well devices and various network elements work with one another. It will also be a platform for vendors to de-bug their solutions that provide MCPTT, MCData and MCVideo, as well as the services which operate on all the three of them.
A technology like MCPTT and 5G are being tested around the world for a future-ready mission-critical network.