Niels Hafenrichter


Deutsche Telekom jump-starts new emergency call in the car

  • Deutsche Telekom's network is ready for Next Generation eCall 
  • Pilot project launched with Qualcomm and cetecom advanced 
  • Test offer for providers of board electronics, vehicle manufacturers and operators of emergency call centers 
Communication between the accident vehicle and the emergency call center. An ambulance is sent to the scene of the accident.

With an NG eCall, the network can also transport multimedia data. This allows rescue measures to be prepared on the way to the scene of the accident. © Deutsche Telekom AG

Deutsche Telekom, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. and cetecom advanced are preparing the mobile network for the next generation of automatic emergency call systems in vehicles. Since April 2018, an eCall system has been mandatory for all new vehicle models. The automatic emergency call system prescribed by the European Union is now technically outdated. With the Next Generation Emergency Call (NG eCall), it is getting a future-proof update. 

The pilot project is the first of its kind. The emergency call center communicates with people in need via Telekom's fixed and mobile networks.

NG eCall transmits the data via LTE and also establishes a voice connection to the vehicle via the commercial 4G network. LTE is very widespread in Europe and offers extensive network coverage. 

Vehicle manufacturers and operators of emergency call centers can now test the new emergency call system on Deutsche Telekom's network throughout Germany. 

Advantages of NG eCall

The introduction of NG eCall offers a number of improvements. The call setup to the vehicle occupants is significantly faster. The previous restrictions on the transmission of data also no longer apply. While the current system can only transmit minimal amounts of data via 2G, it will even be possible to transmit live images from the vehicle in future. This would allow emergency call centers to access onboard cameras in the event of an accident and directly assess the situation at the scene themselves. If the occupants agree, it would even be possible to transmit their health data to the emergency services via the fast data connections. This would allow rescue measures to be prepared on the way to the accident scene.

The pilot project shows: The requirements for an efficient emergency call system with NG eCall are already fulfilled today. 

The update of the EU eCall regulations has long been expected and is urgently needed. To this day, vehicle manufacturers are still obliged to install the technically outdated 2G technology (GSM) or 3G (UMTS), some of which has already been switched off in many countries. The reason for this requirement was the particularly good network coverage at the time compared to 4G/LTE. However, due to the rapid expansion of new mobile networks, updating the specifications is sensible and absolutely necessary. This means that the advantages of modern technology can finally also help to provide faster and more effective assistance to accident victims in emergency situations.

Background and technical details

Telekom is working with Qualcomm Technologies and cetecom advanced on the pilot project. Qualcomm Technologies, a major player in the automotive industry, is providing the prototype of the in-vehicle system (IVS). The service provider cetecom advanced is contributing the test version of the emergency call center (Public Safety Answering Point, PSAP). 
The technology is available throughout the entire Telekom Deutschland network. If required, it will be activated regionally for tests. 

In the test regions, the network then transmits the so-called NG eCall broadcast indicator. It informs the vehicle's on-board electronics about the network's capabilities. This lets the vehicle know that the NG eCall is ready.

In the event of an accident, the on-board electronics then initiate an NG eCall with IMS-based emergency call signaling. Multimedia data can also be transported via the networks. Mobile and fixed networks forward the NG eCall to the test emergency call center at cetecom advanced. Further requirements will be verified in the upcoming tests. These include, for example, the transfer of emergency calls between new and old technology during an ongoing eCall to ensure the continuity of an eCall, particularly during the transition period from old technology to new technology.

Providers of on-board electronics, vehicle manufacturers and operators of emergency call centers can use the NG eCall pilot for tests. This allows them to test their NG eCall solutions in the public telecommunications network.

About Deutsche Telekom: Deutsche Telekom Group profile



DT invests several billion euros every year in building networks.