The UK Home Office launched a tender worth up to £895 million for a user services supplier for its issue-riddled Emergency Services Network (ESN), a project which has been plagued with years of delays and escalating costs.
In a tender notice quietly released this week, the Home Office stated it was aiming to establish a contract for a “user services” supplier to work in conjuction with other partners, including the mobile supplier which is “currently EE”.
The successful bidder will be involved in several areas, including programme and project delivery, system integration, delivery of network and IT infrastructure, including a dedicated dual 4G/5G standalone mobile core network, and specifications and certification services for third-party devices and systems connected to the ESN.
Prospective bidders must submit their tenders by 19 June and the initial term of the contract lasts until the end of 2031, with the possibility of two 12-month extensions.
A contract from the UK government for the ESN, which is earmarked to replace the existing two-way radio system run by Motorola-owned Airwave, was awarded to EE, Motorola and consultancy KBR in 2015 and was initially set to be completed in 2020.
However, the government revealed in 2019 the project was running around 50 per cent over budget and it would not be completed until 2023.
There was another set back last month after a Competition and Markets Authority report suggested services would not be running until around 2029.
In 2022, Motorola also entered talks with the Home Office to end its involvement, stating the future service potential of the assets is limited.