FAIRFAX, VA., USA – 25 March 2020 – TEOCO, the leading provider of analytics, assurance and optimization solutions to over 300 communication service providers (CSPs) and OEMs worldwide, has today announced that it has been selected by Telstra to assist with the development of its UAV strategy. Telstra will use TEOCO’s AirborneRF solution to assess the readiness of its radio access network for future UAV applications, including communications, navigation, surveillance, safety, and identity.

Already deployed by several tier-one operators globally, AirborneRF ensures effective, mission-critical connectivity to enable effective traffic management and control for UAVs in the lower airspace. Telstra will use the solution to develop a platform for enabling a multitude of mission-critical services, vital in supporting successful UAV operations. The platform provides a link between cellular networks and aviation systems, such as air traffic management (ATM), unmanned traffic management (UTM) and flight information management systems (FIMS).

TEOCO’s AirborneRF solution will play an important role in assisting Telstra enable a safe, equitable, secure and reliable urban air space platform. This has become all the more important to Telstra following Uber’s decision in 2019 to use Melbourne as one of three pilot cities to test out its “flying taxis”—the pilot is expected to begin this year, with commercial operations planned for 2023.

Commercial UAVs present a huge opportunity for telco operators, but only if supporting mobile networks deliver the required connectivity to keep them airborne,” said Thomas Neubauer, VP Business Development at TEOCO. “Mobile networks were not designed to meet the needs of the aviation industry, so tight focus is needed to guarantee the quality of service needed to safeguard the additional revenue that connected skies promise. Our Airborne RF solution offers this guarantee to a growing number of major operators around the world.”

“Telstra Labs recognises the role that Telco’s can serve via their mobile network, ranging from IoT (drone registration, activation and identification), through to 5G (super low latency remote command and control and hi-res video carriage). We have been running a number of drone-related technology assessments with various industry customers, within Law Enforcement, Humanitarian Aid, Post Disaster, First Responders and City Councils, over the past 12 months.

The aim is to provide suggestive models to airspace regulators and operators, such as Civil Aviation Safety Authority & Air Services Australia, that a mobile carrier like Telstra has a critical role in managing UAVs, keeping the airspace safe between UAVs and other general aviation. This will unlock greater uptake of beyond-visual-line-of-sight flying, which will trigger additional commercial opportunities for UAVs across several industries. Its key requirements will be underpinned and accelerated using mobile networks (4G/5G) wide coverage, rather than short range wireless solutions,” said Håkan Eriksson, Chief Technology Officer at Telstra.