Home Office revisits purchase of ESN devices
Written by: Mark Venables | Published:

Following market consultation, the Home Office has revisited its tender process for the supply of devices, accessories and services for the Emergency Services Network (ESN) worth up to £150m. ESN is being introduced to provide integrated critical voice and broadband data services for the three emergency services.

According to the tender document, market engagement and evolution of the ESN programme since the publication of the notice to the market in March 2016 has led to a re-assessment of the potential procurement options for ESN devices. “We now wish to share our findings with the market by way of this revised Prior Information Notice, including related material such as draft user requirements that reflect our latest thinking in respect of the potential procurement approaches for ESN devices.”

These potential procurement approaches and the market related information, including further information in respect of the ESN device approval process, were presented at the ESN Devices and Applications Forum (EDAF) held in early September. Market sounding meetings are also going to be held to enable suppliers who have not already engaged with the ESN programme, or have not engaged for some time, to have the opportunity to update the ESN programme on their roadmap, including any changes to their roadmap since the release of the last notice in March 2016, and discuss how this may fit with the potential procurement approaches that are now being considered.

The department is proposing a dynamic purchasing system (DPS) which will allow suppliers to bid for and supply ESN approved devices accessories and services under nine categories, up from eight on the original PIN. The revised PIN specified the following nine new categories:

  • Handheld devices including standard and ruggedised, single and dual mode LTE and TETRA devices
  • Direct device to device communications
  • Active accessories that include batteries
  • Passive accessories such as cases and service carriage on clothing
  • Vehicle devices that includes ESN modems and gateway devices
  • Vehicle accessories
  • Possible vehicle installation design and implementation services
  • Managed services
  • Unified services representing any combination of the previous categories

In December 2015, the user services and mobile services contracts were awarded to Motorola Solutions and EE Limited, respectively. EE has recently asked Ofcom to vary two of its licences on the ESN to enable the use of 4G technology and support the provision of enhanced mobile communications for the emergency services.

EE wants Ofcom to vary its Spectrum Access 2100 MHz Wireless Telegraphy Act 2006 licence to liberalise the use of its unpaired frequencies in the 1899.9 to 1909.9 MHz range to allow LTE.

It has also asked Ofcom for a variation of its 800 MHz/2.6 GHz and 1800 MHz licences to permit the use of mobile transmit frequencies to connect additional temporary base stations to its network at powers up to 31 dBm equivalent isotropically radiated power in the 800 MHz and 1800 MHz bands for use as gateways for the new emergency services network. This request has been sent to consultation by Ofcom and it is looking for comments on its provisional conclusions by September 30.

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