Airbus launches MXLINK in Mexico


Tuesday, 11 June, 2019



Airbus launches MXLINK in Mexico

Airbus has become a pioneer SMVNO for public safety in Mexico and Latin America, launching a secure virtual network for Mexican authorities.

This article from May 7 has been updated with a Q&A interview with Airbus’s Fred Gallart.

Airbus has officially launched MXLINK, its secure mobile virtual network operator (SMVNO) for Mexican public safety and defence authorities. MXLINK is the first of its kind in Mexico and Latin America, and offers multi-operator coverage, interoperability with the National Radiocommunication Tetrapol Network, and end-to-end voice and data security from the most reliable telecom and data centre platform in the country.

In a statement, Airbus said that with MXLINK it has “seized the opportunity to take advantage of the technological advances in the country — such as the deployment of Red Compartida — to propose a reliable, secure, high-quality service for members of public safety organisations such as police officers, firefighters and members of National Defence, offering easy access to a state-of-the-art communication solutions tailored to their needs”.

The company added that it “has a wealth of experience in the field of mission-critical radio communications for public safety and civil protection in Mexico. No network demonstrates this better than the National Radiocommunication Network.”

First deployed in 1999, the National Radiocommunication Network covers 85% of the population and 50% of the Mexican territory with Tetrapol technology, and employs over 100,000 active terminals.

MXLINK users can use Airbus’s portfolio of secure applications. The fully interoperable mission-critical solution Tactilon Agnet delivers secure, multimedia instant messaging, push-to-video, intelligent tactical awareness features and location mapping, as well as mission-critical push-to-talk and end-to-end encryption.

“Governmental security organisations need high-quality state-of-the-art technology. Our aim is to provide them with just that. MXLINK is a reliable and very secure network service which is fully compatible and complementary with existing communication platforms such as Red Nacional de Radiocommunication and Red Compartida,” said Fred Gallart, Head of Sales & Program Delivery Latin America of Secure Land Communications at Airbus.

“Indeed, public safety users can now communicate efficiently on any desired platform with use of Tactilon Agnet, and hence benefit from trustworthy interoperability features,” added Gallart.

MXLINK was launched in Mexico City on 3 May, where Gallart and Olivier Koczan, Head of Secure Land Communications at Airbus, presented it to the press and emphasised both the value it represents for security and defence technology users and the extent to which the technological solution and security will benefit the Mexican Government.

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To get more information on this interesting development in public safety mobile broadband, we conducted a Q&A with Fred Gallart. We asked him about MXLINK, how it will work and how it fits in with Mexico’s Tetrapol National Radiocommunication Network.

Can you give us a general idea of how MXLINK will operate?

MXLINK is a secure service by design: it runs on secure platforms, [set] apart from the internet, it uses end-to-end encryption and [has] interoperability with the National Tetrapol Radiocommunication Network in Mexico. It has the best coverage, speed and availability through a multi-operator service, leveraging both Altan’s Red Compartida and Telcel’s services. MXLINK is an SMVNO that goes far beyond a classic OTT (over the top) application.

How long has it taken to bring MXLINK to fruition?

It has been a long journey to design MXLINK, continuously taking into account what we have learned from the Mexican public safety users over the past decades, as well as specific inputs in regards to mission-critical broadband services. Altan has different business models to work with. We have used the one that allows us to deliver a multi-operator service through Axtel MVNE/A capabilities.

Have any government agencies already signed up?

The State of Queretaro is in the final stage of field testing of MXLINK to start full operation. They have found it valuable for the secure mobile deployment of their crime report application, and for use under covered operations using smartphones interoperating with their Tetrapol State Network. Besides, we have a group of additional user entities interested in joining MXLINK in the short term.

Can private companies use MXLINK too?

MXLINK is designed exclusively for public safety and defence users. By the end of this year we will launch another service specially designed for the business-critical sector such as transportation, logistics, oil and gas, utilities and private security, among other private users.

Can users make use of their own devices?

The full power of MXLINK is unleashed through its end-to-end service level agreement. This covers the connectivity, security and control, the Tactilon Agnet application and the device. BYOD options may apply for certified devices but it is always more valuable to have a single interface to secure the SLA.

Who currently uses the National Radiocommunication Network?

All public safety agencies in the country use the [Tetrapol] National Radiocommunication Network for national seamless interoperability.

How does MXLINK’s coverage compare with that of the National Radiocommunication Network?

MXLINK has the best possible access — national coverage leveraging Telcel’s 3G and 4G footprint, and it has the fastest connectivity through Altan’s Red Compartida, which is under deployment.

Have National Radiocommunication Network users been calling loudly for a service such as MXLINK?

MXLINK is a complementary service to the National Radiocommunication Network that delivers secure broadband connectivity while keeping interoperability with the National Network. It allows public safety users to access actionable intelligence on the field in a secure way, thus improving their operations for the good of the citizens. In other words, it contributes to help authorities to build a safer country.

Image courtesy Airbus.

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