Supplier drops injunction on Home Office contract

A supplier has dropped an injunction that prevented the UK government awarding a contract for the mobile network for the emergency services.

Airwave Solutions, the current supplier of the UK’s emergency services mobile network, has submitted a legal challenge against the Home Office for lot three of the Emergency Services Mobile Communications Programme, but has withdrawn the legal action preventing the award process from moving forward.

Lot three, the allocation of mobile services network for the police, fire and ambulance services, has since been awarded to EE.

The events that led to the withdrawal

In a statement regarding the continued legal action, Airwave Solutions said: “We do not believe that bidders, including Airwave, were given equal treatment under relevant procurement laws and we have therefore made a claim in order to protect our position for any loss suffered.

“We are not pursuing the continuation of a suspension as we do not wish to delay the procurement process, but remain fully committed to our claim related to the lot three process.”

Other bidders for lot three were Telefonica, UK Broadband Networks, Vodafone and Motorola Solutions; who announced it will acquire Airwave for $1.2 billion (£80.4 million) at the beginning of December.

Mike Penning, minister for policing, said: “This is welcome news. This government committed an additional £1 billion to overhaul the emergency services network in the spending review, and we are now clear to get on with the job of providing the faster, cheaper and smarter communications network that can meet the challenges of the future.”

What will happen next?

UK emergency services currently use a private mobile radio system. The new contract will see them move to a commercial network as of mid-2017, when the existing deal with Airwave begins to expire.

Airwave’s withdrawal of their injunction means the case will now be heard at the High Court in the new year; this has been rescheduled from its original hearing date in mid-December.

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