GSMA Position Paper on eCall Support and Mobile Network Evolution
- The GSMA is and remains fully committed to ensure the successful deployment of eCall, both now and in the future cooperating with all relevant stakeholders, including vehicle manufacturers and Member State authorities. This can be traced back to the GSMA’s signature of the initial eCall Memorandum of Understanding in 2009, which has more recently been complemented by specific initiatives from the mobile industry to address existing eCall deployment issues.
- As European mobile networks continue to evolve, GSMA members are fully dedicated to fulfil their social responsibility and remain committed to constructive cooperation with all parties involved. All parties in the eCall delivery chain must work together to successfully make the transition happen from Circuit Switch (CS) eCall toward Next Generation (NG) eCall – which is over IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS). The deployment of 4G/5G mobile networks is closely linked to this transition.
- While eCall was an initiative from the European Union, systems with the same purpose have gained global attention and popularity. Russia, the UAE, South Korea and Israel are in the process or planning to introduce launch similar systems (in each market regulators will make different choices). As a consequence, the automobile industry will have to comply with the technology standards in those countries and regions.
- According to reports, South Korea plans to introduce NG eCall by 2022. In the interest of customer service, harmonisation and interoperability, standardisation on a global scale is to be considered.
- Recognising the benefits of technological evolution, the GSMA considers that all relevant stakeholders should expedite the move from CS toward NG eCall. By doing so, citizens will have access to better and enhanced emergency services, whilst ensuring the efficient use of spectrum.
- Currently, network operators are massively upgrading their network capacities. These investments also foster the future functioning of eCall systems. Especially 4G and 5G technologies will provide a higher network availability and quality of services, as well as harness the potential for enhanced eCall services. Hence, the roll-out of the NG eCall should not be delayed and aligned with 5G deployment plans of MNOs.
- The functioning of the eCall service goes beyond networks of mobile operators and is dependent on all stakeholders contributing to its operation; MNOs on the transport of the communication, car manufacturers on the proper equipment in the vehicle, and the PSAP as the response unit to an eCall. In some instances, MNOs have commercially concluded business contracts with the automotive industry, with many good examples where car manufacturers have committed to upgrade the equipment in response to technology evolution.
- At the same time, existing eCall regulation should be updated where required, so that it does not solely refer to CS technology, rather it should be fully technology-neutral (as is standard practice for EU legislation).
- The existing work already underway with respect to NG eCall standardisation and the associated specifications toolbox should be supported and finalised swiftly. Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs) should also accelerate their infrastructure readiness to enable processing of NG eCall.
- Given the installed base of eCall modules already in the market, which rely on 2G/3G, ensuring continuity of existing eCall services will be essential. In practice, a range of options beyond networks should be explored in this respect (which may include the upgrade of these devices during the vehicle service or as an aftermarket solution).
- All participants involved in the delivery of eCall services can and should do more to raise awareness and provide certainty over their transition plans toward NG eCall. By working together, we can ensure that European citizens can realise the benefits of the improved capability and functionality of NG eCall.
Continue reading: GSMA Position Paper on eCall Support and Mobile Network Evolution (pdf download)