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Samsung gets devices deal for the Emergency Services Network

David Bicknell Published 28 November 2017

South Korean manufacturer will provide upto 250,000 handsets under a framework agreement


Samsung is to supply smartphones for use on the Home Office’s Emergency Services Network (ESN) after securing a place on a LTE mobile handheld devices framework which has been valued at upto £210m.

The Home Office has confirmed the contract award, which is expected to be for a duration of 36 months with an option to extend for a maximum of 12 months.

Samsung said the LTE smartphones were developed through extensive R&D to provide the most suitable solution for the challenges which currently affect communications within the emergency services. They will be ruggedized devices, and be water resistant with both hardware and software features that will support emergency services functionality and critical voice services, Samsung said.

The overall procurement covered the supply of LTE mobile handheld devices for operational trials; devices available on the framework agreement; accessories that are to be used with the LTE mobile handheld devices for the trials, and intrinsically Safe LTE mobile handheld devices.

ESN is intended by the Home Office to replace the current Airwave system. The project, however is currently around nine months behind schedule, meaning that instead of the emergency services across the country starting tests from this autumn, the first regional rollout in the North-West is now expected to begin next summer.

The tender stated that suppliers awarded contracts on the framework agreement must be able to supply their LTE Mobile Handheld Devices under the call-off arrangements from the point that the devices complete trials, and must have completed NATS and UDTAS accreditation, and be available for procurement in large quantities, up to 250,000, over the term of the contract from June 2018.

The Home Office’s overarching Emergency Services Mobile Communications Programme (ESMCP) came out with the devices tender in early April and to complete the procurement and award a contract by the end of November is quicker than some might have expected. However, that urgency may also have been driven by the recognition that ESN is behind schedule.

A Home Office spokesman confirmed Samsung’s ESN deal, saying, "Using a single ESN 4G device is more effective, efficient and less costly than using a combination of the existing Airwave devices and multiple commercial networks and standard 4G devices."

Suk-Jea Hahn, executive vice president of Samsung Electronics’ Global Mobile B2B Team said, “We are excited to be part of the UK ESN project and awarded the contract to supply LTE smartphones and accessories for ESN in the UK. Next-generation public safety communications is an important area of focus for Samsung, and we are now looking forward to working in partnership with ESN and UK emergency services organisations to bring our technology to the entire public safety community on the front line, supporting the great work they do every day.”

Samsung already supplies its devices for the SafeNet public safety network that runs over commercial LTE infrastructure in South Korea.

GlobalData Public Sector analyst Daniel Jones said, “Bidders that have missed out will still have opportunities to sell, however, since this will be a non-mandatory framework. And, given delays to ESN, it may be a while until Samsung sees any spend through this procurement vehicle.”

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