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that will be online in time for the spring, but we would like the M1 corridor to be covered from Yorkshire down to London. It won’t ac- tually need much work: we already cover Bow Brickhill – that stops at about Junction 15 of the M1 – and we are having two new sites com- ing on in Rugby and Northampton very shortly which will do up to Coventry. We are looking at putting a site on air by the end of this year at Lichfield, which covers the whole of the West Midlands, and Arqiva are going to let us at the top of the Lichfield mast, by the sound of it. “And then we just need a site at Stoke-on-

Trent and we will be linked up to Manchester.” At present, some 8000 users are connected to

the system. “We are very popular with couriers, private ambulances, skips and tipper, aggregate companies”, Sam Hunt reveals. “Tey seem to really like it for some reason! And there are taxis, which everybody has. “For taxis we’ve got what we call a twilight

tariff. Because most of our traditional users are 9-to-5 during the week (that’s our busy hour), taxis are a bit bizarre in that they are all off- peak. Tey just use up the spare capacity that

we’ve got overnight, when the system is always very quiet. So we are actually doing taxis for half price. Taxis can go on Crystal Palace for £6.25 a month, which will give them all five airports in London – Stansted, Luton, Gat- wick, Heathrow and London City Airport.”

Dependable MPT Tough the network is based on classic MPT 1327 – its switching infrastructure is proven equipment from Fylde Micro – Mr Hunt re- jects any suggestion that its analogue technol- ogy is outdated. “We’ve looked at digital offer- ings and we’ve tested a lot out”, he says. “Te TDMA digital offering seems to have a fun- damental flaw in it with near-far issues, and it doesn’t seem suitable for our sites, which are very prominent sites covering 70–80 miles. So if you’ve got somebody sat under your radio mast and somebody 60 miles away, the person underneath the radio mast wipes out the person 60 miles away.” Because of this, manufacturers even refused

to sell him their TDMA offerings, he declares (although, in reality, almost everything about

MPT 1327 is digital apart from the voice trans- mission). “Te other issue is a lot of our customers are

pretty demanding people”, Mr Hunt continues. “You might not think an aggregate company needs a mission-critical communications system – but then, if it stops going, it means their ve- hicles stop going and they stop making money. “One aggregate company we were down at

yesterday, with 50 vehicles – they say that each vehicle is out for about eight hours a day and it turns over £10,000 a day. So if the vehicle isn’t out for even a few hours, then you can imag- ine the cost. You’re talking about thousands of pounds an hour if the communications system doesn’t work. Tey don’t care that it might be a bit crackly here – not that it is, because we are making the system a lot more robust and the signal strengths are a lot higher. But they don’t care if they go underneath a pylon with noisy wiring and it buzzes. What they need is reliability. “With MPT 1327 it took 10 years until it

was a reliable product and all the bugs were out of the protocol – and we don’t feel at the mo-

In-vehicle installation with a new Tait trunked mobile. Fleetcomm has a range of subscription packages and coverage options, from airtime-only deals to radio bundles with full maintenance support, and from local radio coverage to quasi-nationwide


LAND mobile October 2011

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