Delays associated with overbudget ESN in UK could generate additional Airwave TETRA revenues for Motorola Solutions
Delays and uncertainties surrounding the Emergency Services Network (ESN) mean that some United Kingdom (UK) public-safety personnel likely will need the Airwave TETRA network for at least one extra year beyond the current December 2022 target date to retire the Motorola Solutions-owned system, according to UK officials. UK Home Office officials initially planned to have the nationwide ESN public-safety LTE system operational and retire the expensive Airwave system at the end of this year. Last fall, the Home Office announced that it reached an agreement with Motorola Solutions to extend the life of the Airwave for three years—a deal that was signed this spring. While the contract extension provides UK first responders with some certainty about the availability for Airwave to provide TETRA push-to-talk voice communications for the next three years, it also extends the budget overage for the ESN project to more than 3.1 billion pounds, according to a report recently released by the UK’s National Audit Office (NAO).
Stephen Webb, the senior responsible owner for ESN in the Home Office, said the latest plan includes contingency funding to pay for Airwave for a year beyond December 2022. The Home Office hopes to know more about the transition—currently set at 27 months, although some public-safety officials believe it will take four years—from Airwave to ESN after conducting two sets of ESN push-to-talk tests that are scheduled to begin in July and late this year, respectively.