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Kima - Faroese Telecom's Mission Critical Communications Solution

 The Faroe Islands is a self-governing archipelago, part of the Kingdom of Denmark. It comprises 18 rocky, volcanic islands between Iceland and Norway in the North Atlantic Ocean, connected by road tunnels, ferries, causeways and bridges. Hikers and bird-watchers are drawn to the islands’ mountains, valleys and grassy heathland, and steep coastal cliffs that harbor thousands of seabirds. It's population is just over 50,000 people.

Faroese Telecom (or Føroya Tele, FT) is the incumbent mobile operator and the public telco of the islands, owned by the govenment. Since 2014 they branded their mobile products and market them as ver.

KIMA is a modern Mission Critical Push to Talk communication system from Faroese Telecom. The system is routed in the Faroese context and intended those who serve us and keep us safe. KIMA enables the islands’ search and rescue teams to operate safely on land, at sea and in the air. Their website states:

KIMA enables users to communicate and collaborate one-to-one, one-to-many and many-to-many. Furthermore KIMA makes it possible for users to send text messages, share photos and files and video stream from any emergency situation. 

KIMA is leveraging our world class mobile network which has close to 100% coverage on land, at sea and in the air. The mobile network at Føroya Tele is among the best and safest worldwide and this guarantees the quality of KIMA 24/7.

This is a nice short advert that they added to YouTube recently.

Ericsson is supplying the network equipment and have released a press release with some more details:

The Faroe Islands Police service is the first public safety or emergency service authority across the islands to use the mobile broadband-enabled solution via Faroese Telecom’s LTE network.

They are also among the first in Europe to have telecom standards-based Mission-Critical-Push-to-Talk as a primary tool for critical communication. Other public safety and emergency service bodies across the Faroe Islands will follow in a move that will see all responder organizations across the island chain connected via the same solution.

The solution offers Land Mobile Radio users a migration path to LTE and 5G, while retaining group communication operational capabilities. It provides guaranteed voice and video call connectivity simultaneously to large numbers of public safety, emergency services or first responder professionals in the field.

The Faroese name of the new service – KIMA – pays tribute to the spirit of traditional community response across the Faroe Islands. The word KIMA in Faroese means ringing. In days gone past church bells would be rung to draw attention to a significant event or when a message had to be communicated across a community. The same ethos is now being applied to emergency or public safety response. This modern KIMA will also demand the immediate attention of all users.

Ericsson is also keen to point out that while the Mission Critical LTE is good enough today, moving to 5G will bring many more advanced features. Their recent brief says:

Many of the 3GPP mission critical network enablers are already standardized for 5G, but some will be standardized in Release 17. Meanwhile, the standardization of integrating mission critical push-to-X services with the network is being planned for Release 18. At present, the LTE path of a non-standalone 5G network can be used to support the mission critical services, and the 5G New Radio (5G NR) path can be used for data offload.

From 2022, NR deployments are likely to be more widespread, and more mission critical 5G devices will be generally available. NR-supported use cases will become a reality. These include real-time drone control using ultra-reliable low latency communication (URLLC), or multiple real-time bodycam streaming during major incidents – taking advantage of the high throughput enabled by NR. Mission critical push-to-talk will continue to be supported on the LTE path of the network since critical networking capabilities, such as broadcast and device-to-device communications, will not yet be available on 5G NR.

As we approach 2024-2025, there will be the possibility for a mission critical network to evolve to a full standalone 5G network using just NR as the radio interface, if so desired, running all mission critical services on mission critical 5G devices.

As the well known industry analyst Ken Rehbehn points out in his tweet above, this is probably the stepping stone for Danish Mission Critical network deployment for Ericsson.

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