Virve is becoming a broad-band service – this is how the development is progressing
At the core of the Virve 2.0 project is the secure and seamless transition from the current Virve to new services. Critical communication and mission control between authorities and other mission critical operators will be safeguarded under all circumstances.
The highly tuned current Virve network for authorities will continue to work seamlessly alongside new services during the migration phase between 2023-2025. At the same time, the development of broadband Virve will proceed strongly in the areas of radio networks, information systems, devices, and application services.
Our desire is to conduct the development, testing and piloting of new services in close collaboration with Virve users. Preparing users for the upcoming change will also commence early on. What can they expect and when?
1. Radio network and information systems build the foundation
Erillisverkot procured the foundation for new Virve services in the spring of 2020. Ericsson will provide the Core information systems for Virve services and Elisa will have responsibility over 4G and 5G RAN radio network services. The building and testing phase of these services is currently under way together with the selected partners.
The role of Erillisverkot in the scope of the future Virve services is to oversee the entire system and to act as the service provider together with Valtori.
2. Data and phone subscriptions in use within a year
In order to use the upcoming Virve services ensemble, customers will need different kinds of subscriptions. Data subscriptions will be ready for use towards the summer of 2022. Phone subscriptions will likewise be available already during the year 2022..
The attributes of both subscription types will be tested over the summer with small test user groups. More information on the progress of this phase will be given over the course of the spring in user info sessions and workshops.
The currently used Virve phones will be replaced with thoroughly tested new devices during the migration phase.
3. The continued operation of current Virve will be ensured
The reliable operation of the current authority network will be secured until new services are fully available. Erillisverkot has renewed its Virve maintenance contract with Airbus until 2025 and it will remain as an option until the end of Virve’s migration phase. Press release regarding the topic from January 2021.
The network will not undergo further development during these years, but changes and updates critical to usability will be ensured.
4. New devices available
Radio networks, information systems and subscriptions are used on different kinds of devices. The current Virve phone is commonly seen on the belts or shoulders of different officers. The future scope of devices will be much more varied: users’ hands and eyes may rest upon, for example, smart phones, tablets, smart watches, and rings.
The procurement of devices will also move forward in 2021. The first small batches will be in test use towards the end of 2021 and devices will become more widely available during 2022.
As with all the other areas of the project, Erillisverkot published an international request for information regarding devices in the autumn of 2020. 22 organizations from around the world sent in responses. The English summary of the request for information is available here.
MILLION WEEKLY MESSAGES SENT IN VIRVE
5. New application services after migration period
During the migration period, the key speech and messaging services will be provided using existing applications in order to safeguard reliable system operations and transition to a new era.
The public competitive tendering and procurement for new application services (talk, data, and video services) will begin in 2024. Erillisverkot will offer for example a group video call service during the migration period.