Telecom giants in position for £1bn ambulance chase
The biggest corporate names in telecoms and technology are believed to be eyeing up a £1bn deal to provide secure radio networks for the emergency services.
Airwave, owned by Australia's Macquarie, built and runs the communications network that allows ambulance drivers, firemen and police to contact hospitals, stations and colleagues quickly and safely through secure handsets.
Airwave won these various emergency services deals at different times, but has held all of them since 2005. That meant for the first time the 'blue light' services were able to communicate through the same system, while in 2011 the network coped with 16,000 police officers on duty during the London riots.
However, these contracts come to an end between 2016 and 2022, so the Home Office has started talks with industry over the shape of future deals. It is understood that the likes of Vodafone, O2, EADS subsidiary Cassidian, Capita, and Motorola – which already provides huge numbers of handsets to Airwave - have all been contacted in what is known as "soft market testing".
This is a Government exercise that takes place before an official selection process to ensure that there is sufficient interest in a contract. Officials are understood to be examining whether to let just one big contract to cover all of the 999 services, or run separate bidding processes.
Macquarie's Airwave is almost certain to bid again and is riding high having also been responsible for London 2012's private mobile radio communications. Airwave has also ensured that the emergency services have been able to contact each other in the London Underground since 2010.
An industry source said that the bidding process is likely to start before the end of the year.
However the contracts are carved up, two sources said that the overall value would add up to around £1bn, probably over a decade.
An Airwave spokeswoman said: "Airwave has several separate contracts with the Home Office to provide critical communications services. These are due to expire over a six year period from 2016."
- 1 What happens to your body when you give up sugar?
- 3 Japanese island overrun with cats after population explodes
- 4 Delhi bus rapist blames dead victim for attack because 'girls are responsible for rape'
- 5 Have sex with your iPad thanks to the new sex toy no-one asked for
California teacher appears to have hanged herself in her classroom
The City of the Monkey God: Archaeologists claim to have found city lost for 1,000 years in remote Honduran jungle
Ed Miliband deemed less influential than One Direction's Louis Tomlinson by official Doncaster power list
Japanese island overrun with cats after population explodes
Delhi bus rapist blames dead victim for attack because 'girls are responsible for rape'
'Jihadi John': CAGE representative storms off Sky News accusing Kay Burley of Islamophobia
Durham Free School: 'Creationism taught at' free school facing closure
Ukip would cut billions from Scottish budget to fund English tax cuts
Nearly 100,000 of Britain's poorest children go hungry after parents' benefits are cut
End of the licence fee: BBC to back radical overhaul of how it is funded
Ukraine crisis: Top Chinese diplomat backs Putin and says West should 'abandon zero-sum mentality'
iJobs Money & Business
£15000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a great opportunity for...
£50000 - £60000 per annum + Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: An outstanding new...
£20000 - £21000 per annum + uncapped commission: SThree: As a graduate you are...
£25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A global leader operating...