The Home Office and Motorola Solutions have agreed to end the two-year £400m contract to deliver the Emergency Services Network, with the government already working on a procurement process to install another provider, PublicTechnology can declare.
The agreed and immediate conclusion means that the technology company will not provide basic voice applications for the new nationwide communication network used by the police, ambulance and fire services.
The termination of the ESN contract comes with an ongoing dispute in which the Home Office has called for the payment of 500 million dollars. This amount, according to the UK competition watchdog, is the result of a monopoly position that has led to excessive charges for the use of the current Airwave network – which is also delivered by Motorola Solutions.
The U.S.-based telecommunications outfit — a company that spun off the Motorola brand of consumer phones, now owned by Lenovo — signed a six-year deal with the UK government in December 2015 to of the delivery of the audio component to the ESN. After relaunching the program in 2019, the contract was extended until the end scheduled for December 31, 2024.
In a brief note at the end of the procurement notice, the government has now announced that both parties have agreed to terminate the contract effective December 19, 2022. It will continue to provide “termination assistance services” for 12 Motorola added. months, the update added.
Both sides confirmed the ceasefire PublicTechnology.
The Home Office has announced that it has begun the first phase of the procurement process that will establish another provider of voice services that will be used when the ESN goes live. Originally planned for 2019, after several delays, it is now expected to be in 2026 – or “possibly later”, the government said.
The comms operation contracted with Motorola will be a key component in replacing the current Airwave network. First commissioned in 2000, Airwave was purchased by Motorola just weeks after it was awarded the contract to supply ESN’s audio components.
Although it will no longer be the main supplier of new systems for blue sky services, the American company will continue to support Airwave.
A Home Office spokesman said: “The Home Office and Motorola have agreed to end their contract to provide services to the Emergency Services Network on 19 December 2022. We have agreed that Motorola will provide certain services for twelve months after that date. The Airwave Agreement is ongoing and unaffected. “
A spokesperson for Motorola Solutions added: “Motorola Solutions has agreed with the UK Home Office to end our responsibility for the ESN programme. Motorola Solutions will continue to support the ESN by providing some ‘Lot 2’ transition services over the next 12 months and interworking interface capabilities that will enable the Home Office to facilitate communication between the ESN and Airwave in the next phase of the program.
“In addition, the company will continue to deliver and maintain the vital Airwave network, which the UK’s emergency services rely on and operate at the highest level. Motorola Solutions will also continue to provide the critical technology ecosystem complete mission – including hardware, control room software, field motion applications and video security solutions – to support agencies that rely on these solutions to help keeping emergency service personnel and the community safe every day.”
When Motorola released its most recent quarterly results in November, Motorola said it had “made a business decision to begin negotiations regarding the early exit of the ESN contract”. The financial statement acknowledged that this meant the company had recognized a “fixed asset impairment charge of $147m relating to assets built and used in the settlement of the ESN contract” to date.
The indication that the company wanted to call time on the ESN operation came shortly after the Competition and Markets Authority published the results of a year-long investigation which concluded that its monopoly status was “allowing Motorola to make over £160m a year” from continuing Airwave.
The regulator – who expressed concern about the company’s “dual role in providing the current network and in helping to deliver the ESN to replace it” – called for the implementation without delay. day the “price control clause” legally limits what the company can supply to Airwave. service.
Addressing the issue in a quarterly statement, Motorola said: “The company does not agree with the CMA’s interim decision and will continue to work with the CMA to demonstrate the value of the Airwave network and comply with the a legal way to protect Airwave’s contract position.”
But, in response to a CMA report published shortly after, the Home Office suggested that the regulator’s cost control proposals did not go far enough – and that the telecommunications industry should also be asked to do so. -away to return hundreds of millions of dollars in “supernormal profits. ” The department believes that the amount received is unfair.
“While we understand how the CMA’s proposed charges will be scrutinized, the Home Office is concerned that Motorola, its shareholders and other investors with a value of more than £500m will be allowed to recover “This condition is supernormal,” the department said. “The Home Office is keen to find a remedy that restores this value for the benefit of taxpayers and UK citizens.”
Data on the largest projects released by the Home Office indicated that the cost of delivering the ESN to the completion of the ESN now stands at $12 billion. This means that, in the best case scenario, the sector will start seven years late and double the cost originally planned.