Mobile service provider EE has won a £1 billion government contract to provide 4G to the UK’s emergency services, after a year-long tender process in which it was the only bidder.
The new network will replace the “limited and obsolete technology that exists today” which is a two-way Terrestrial Trunked Radio (TETRA) network run by a communications firm called Airwave, which Motorola Solutions recently announced it will be purchasing for £117.5 million.
O2 did initially challenge EE for the contract, but pulled out of the race in June due to the complications accompanying its merger with Hutchison Whampoa’s 3 UK.
EE’s network will be used by the police, fire and ambulance services and will involve the operator providing “300,000 critical emergency workers with access to 4G voice and data.” EE wants to replace the existing network by 2017 and has already committed to spending £1.5 billion to boost its own network over the next two years.
Olaf Swantee, EE CEO commented: “We are immensely proud to be selected to deliver this vital new network for Britain’s emergency services.”
Airwave has provided the network for the emergency services since 2009 but failed on this attempt due to its inflexible and expensive” tender. Motorolw will have a role to play though, with a contract to provide “system integration and critical functionality” for the net network.