Motorola renews radio network contract

By Paul Hemsley

The Victorian Emergency Services Telecommunications Authority has signed a four year extension with Motorola Solutions to upgrade the Metropolitan Mobile Radio (MMR) network.

Allowing the Emergency Services Telecommunications Authority (ESTA), Victoria Police, Ambulance Victoria and the Metropolitan Fire Brigade to communicate seamlessly with one another, the upgrades will be built upon an older building contract.

This contract between the Motorola and the Victorian Government was initiated in 2004 for the vendor to design, build and manage the MMR network, assisting the agencies’ issues with previously incompatible systems and improving coverage.

The recent agreement beginning from 2012 to 2016, with the option of a further two years, sees Motorola implementing software and equipment upgrades.

Motorola Solutions Australia managing director, Gary Starr said the process of making this agreement involved starting early before the end of the term for the government to decide if they want to continue.

Mr Starr told Government News that the government needs to make a decision before the end of that date, because they would otherwise have to find an alternative.

“The alternatives were they could take the network back and run it themselves, they could just get us to do maintenance, extend with that and just have the network in lockdown and leave it as is,” Mr Starr said.

In terms of training, there is an element of training and support in these large contracts, Mr Starr said.

“We manage the network end-to-end from installation into the vehicle or to the person or de-installation or repair, so there is an obligation to provide training on the terminal devices they use,” Mr Starr said.

According to Mr Starr, when an agency changes its workflow, Motorola has to refresh the training.

“The difference in Victoria is they’ve done it as a public-private partnership and in a PPP, they write down all the risks and they divide them up,” he said.

He said spectrum sits with the government and coverage sits with private.

According to Mr Starr, it is a complex process because there is no tender and in some ways there is more scrutiny because a tender is very transparent,

“You go to market, everyone responds, there’s the best value for money,” Mr Starr said.

He said in this case, they hold themselves to even greater account because they are not going through a competitive process; they go through a very rigorous process establishing value for money.

“It was a year of frenetic negotiation and evaluation and a year before that of looking at what’s happening globally and at least establishing where to from here,” he said.

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