The Home Office has said that following recently announced industry commitments to improving poor mobile signal, it no longer intends to seek a tender for a national “extension to mobile services” contract as those improvements are now redundant.
It had previously been anticipated that poor or non-existent mobile signal problems would not be solved by the main Emergency Services Network (ESN) contract and would instead required the “extension to mobile services” contract.
However, the government has said that following an evaluation of tenders, it has determined that the bids for the ESN contract provide “unexpected and significant improvements” to current signal problems and therefore negating the need for a further tender.
Minister for Policing Mike Penning said: “Although the tender bids are still being evaluated, it is clear that competition for contracts for the new ESN has resulted in offers by the mobile industry which are significantly beyond our initial expectations.
“The quality of the bids means the areas of the UK that would have remained covered by the ‘extension to mobile services’ contract are now significantly smaller than we envisaged, therefore we do not need to proceed with the contract in its current form.
The ESN contract criteria has been developed in accordance with the emergency services’ requirements and in particular will offer comprehensive broadband services which cannot currently be delivered using the present system technology.
The new services are expected to replace the existing system from 2017 when the contracts expire.
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