Simply weeks after the UK’s Competitors and Markets Authority (CMA) really useful limiting how a lot tech agency Motorola Options can cost the nation’s emergency providers to make use of its Airwave Community on the emergency providers community (ESN), the UK authorities is endeavor a procurement process to nominate what it calls a suitably succesful and skilled supplier of consumer providers for the devoted infrastructure.
In 2015, the UK Residence Workplace contracted suppliers to supply a brand new ESN to exchange the prevailing and well-liked Airwave terrestrial trunked radio (Tetra) community utilized by all 108 police, fireplace and ambulance providers throughout England, Scotland and Wales to speak between the sphere and management rooms. As a part of its Emergency Providers Cellular Communications Programme (ESMCP), the Residence Workplace supposed ESN to completely exchange Airwave, value much less and supply customers with entry to what it described as “trendy” cell information.
In 2015, the Residence Workplace contracted cell operator EE to supply precedence entry to its cell community and improve community protection. It additionally contracted Motorola Options UK for software program and methods together with vital options not usually discovered on a cell community, corresponding to a first-of-a-kind “push-to-talk” performance.
Totally different suppliers had been contracted for different components of the programme, corresponding to upgrading customers’ methods and making certain that ESN covers distant areas. Along with profitable one of many key contracts for the supply of ESN in 2015, Motorola acquired Airwave Options, the proprietor and operator of the Airwave community, in 2016.
Nonetheless, virtually from inception, your complete ESN community has been beset by delays and price overruns, attracting criticism which led to Motorola Options deciding to finish early its involvement within the venture. The CMA opened an investigation into the function of the Airwave community within the ESN in October 2021, with a selected give attention to the impression of Motorola’s twin function because the proprietor of the corporate offering the deliberate new cell radio community and as a key provider.
The ESN isn’t anticipated to be prepared till not less than 2026, extra seemingly 2029, and the emergency providers proceed to depend on the Airwave Community, which the CMA regards as a monopoly supplier of those important communications providers.
In outlining the brand new tender doc, the UK authorities, by the ESMCP, confused that particulars beforehand shared as a part of the ESN market engagement exercise has now been outmoded by the brand new procurement and contract documentation issued in reference to this contract discover.
The doc notes that there shall be greater than 300,000 emergency service customers who will depend on the system that’s being created for their very own operational security and the welfare of the British public. These frontline emergency service customers who will rely on ESN are envisaged as utilizing handheld gadgets or working tools in 45,000 autos, greater than 66 plane and greater than 100 management rooms. All of Cellular Providers Suppliers’ protection shall be out there for ESN with particular contract provision for almost all of roads; consumer outlined vital operational areas; as much as 10,000 ft within the air and 12 nautical miles from Britain’s shoreline.
Greater than 400 authorities and native public security our bodies use the present system, and the brand new tender doc notes that they are going to doubtlessly require the flexibility to make use of ESN. These different our bodies could add as much as roughly 50,000 extra linked gadgets, and should embody the central authorities departments, non-departmental public our bodies and companies, native authorities in Nice Britain and various charitable our bodies and different organisations that work together with public security our bodies.
The ESMCP shall be liable for delivering the programme, and it stated it wants firms with excessive requirements to work with it to supply the technical constructing blocks wanted.
Working with suppliers
The ESN shall be offered by the Person Providers Provider working along side different suppliers to the programme, principally the Cellular Providers Provider, presently EE. The Cellular Providers Provider will present the radio entry community infrastructure and associated providers.
The Person Providers Provider shall be liable for: programme and venture administration supply; system integration, together with the manufacturing of end-to-end designs and managing the combination of all methods and interfaces essential to ship ESN; supply of community and IT infrastructure as required for the Person Providers, together with a devoted twin 4G/5G standalone cell core community; provision of a 3GPP-compliant service for mission-critical providers (MCX) supporting mission-critical push-to-talk (MCPTT), and information (MCData) and video (MCVideo) options.
The MCX Providers, that are core to the Person Providers, will present prioritised group and particular person voice, information and video communications over the 4G cell community, which is presently offered by EE.
As well as, the provider can even be liable for specification and certification providers for third-party gadgets and methods to connect with ESN and provision of an enterprise mobility administration service for ESN gadgets. There may be additionally a buyer help component, together with a self-service interface, billing and reporting providers, and a requirement for provision of service integration and repair administration, co-ordinating help from different ESN suppliers and managing end-to-end help for ESN.
The whole worth of the contract – working till 31 December 2031 with non-compulsory two-year extensions in 12-month intervals – is valued at £895m excluding VAT. A minimal of three and a most of as much as 5 certified bidders shall be shortlisted and invited to proceed to the following stage of the procurement.