NEW ORLEANS—Motorola Solutions today announced a new version of its mobile LTE broadband modem that enables access to 3G networks in areas where Verizon’s LTE coverage is not available.

The VML 750 LTE Vehicle Modem builds on the VML 700 LTE Vehicle Modem that was launched last fall via a partnership between Motorola and Verizon that was forged about three years ago. The VML 750 modem, which has the same form-factor as its predecessor, will be showcased at Motorola’s booth at APCO today and tomorrow.

The VML 700 modem was designed to work on Verizon’s commercial network and on Band 14 LTE networks, such as the nationwide public-safety broadband network being deployed by FirstNet. When the public-safety network is unavailable, the modem rolls over to Verizon’s 4G LTE network. But 4G coverage is not always available, and that is where the VML 750 can step in.

“The big difference is 3G fallback,” Ali Kapadia, director of global product marketing for Motorola, said in an interview with IWCE’s Urgent Communications. “The [VML] 700 had 4G fallback, but as we all know, Verizon network has a lot of 4G coverage, but there are still spots that don’t have 4G, but they have 3G coverage there. What this device allows you to do is to seamlessly roam across public-safety LTE, carrier 4G and carrier 3G [networks].”

That capability will give first responders more flexibility when out in the field, said Alan Lopez, director of North America government marketing for Motorola.

“The exciting thing about this modem is that—in the past—it’s always been a challenge to choose between having 3G and 4G Verizon coverage, or 4G Verizon and public-safety Band 14 LTE coverage,” Lopez said. “This modem allows us to do all of those things for our customers, so that they have really the maximum flexibility in the network.”

Like the VML 700, the VML 750 has GPS capability and the ability to serve as a Wi-Fi hotspot. The new vehicle modem will continue to be ruggedized and heat- and cold-resistant with vibration-tested durability, Lopez said.

“What you can do now is not only stay very reliably and flexibly connected in a car, but you can also use other Wi-Fi devices in the surroundings of the car to extend the first responder’s connectivity and the choice of … clients you can use,” Lopez said. “A dramatic improvement over a laptop with a dongle on it, this modem with a roof-mounted antenna that … can really boost the connectivity capabilities of the vehicle and then serve really as a backhaul for a Wi-Fi sort of hot zone or hot spot.”

The VML 750 is part of Motorola’s growing focus on helping its customers adopt technologies that are useful today while enabling the migration to future technologies such as FirstNet, Lopez said.

The price of the VML 750, which varies based on options and antenna, is comparable to the VML 700, according to company sources. The solution will be available at the end of the month.