Motorola Solutions today announced plans to provide hosted LTE core solutions to public-safety entities and new LTE devices at the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO) conference in Philadelphia.

Plans to offer a hosted LTE cloud-core solution were foreshadowed last month by Motorola officials, who cited managed-services solutions as a focal point of the company's long-term strategy during a media day. Because of the significant expense — and massive capacity — of LTE cores, many public-safety entities are seeking an alternative to purchasing and maintain this aspect of a private wireless broadband network.

"What we're offering them is the ability to have control … and have the same functions, the same benefits and the same activities in the field by going with a hosted model," Ray Savich, Motorola Solutions' global solutions marketing manager, said during an interview.

This model should be particularly attractive to small and mid-sized public-safety entities that may lack the financial resources and technical ability to maintain their own LTE core, Savich said.

"We think it's a great opportunity for them," he said. "Without this sort of an option, these guys would really have a hard time deploying LTE and getting the benefits out there."

Indeed, about 80% of LTE system bids have included inquiries about the costs associated with using a hosted core service, said Jim Connor, Motorola Solutions' director of advanced services, who noted that there are multiple models that public-safety entities may pursue in the in the future.

"One of the ways to think about this is as a spectrum of solutions for our customers," Connor said. "You can go from a customer who owns its own core and runs and maintains it on one side of the spectrum. On the other side of the spectrum is a customer who will use a cloud-core implementation, so they can actually run it with zero expertise on their side. Somewhere in the middle would be a customer-owned core that Motorola can entirely manage — and I think there are a lot of things in between."

The hosted LTE cloud core solution will be implemented during the fourth quarter of this year, Connor said.

Separately, Motorola introduced the VML700 LTE vehicle modem and UM1000 LTE USB modem, both of which access the Band Class 14 700 MHz broadband spectrum allocated to public safety.

While the UM1000 is a USB dongle that provides access to a wide variety of devices using Band Class 14 spectrum, the vehicle modem provides multimodal access to broadband, according to Rick Keith, senior director of LTE product management for Motorola solutions.

"It will be certified and ready to support, on its first release, Verizon EV/DO and 1x for all U.S.-based frequencies and Band Class 14 for LTE," Keith said during an interview. "It also has, inside the modem, both Wi-Fi access point and Wi-Fi client, which means it can act as a client in a mesh network, … but it can also act as an access point to devices that surround a fire truck or a police vehicle, so smaller devices with Wi-Fi can use it as a springboard to go back home over LTE."

Currently, the VML700 does not work over Verizon's LTE network, but Motorola Solutions is conducting tests with the carrier in hope of enabling access to the commercial 4G network via a software upgrade.

Motorola Solutions is taking orders for the devices now, and they are expected to be commercially available during the fourth quarter, according to the company.