KBR, the technology, engineering, procurement and construction company, is being tipped as the preferred bidder for Lot 1 of the UK’s £1.2 billion Emergency Services Network, according to the Government Computing website.
If the tip is correct, KBR will be ahead of its three other rivals for the contract - Atkins, Lockheed Martin and Mott McDonald. It is understood that neither KBR nor the Home Office, whose ESMCP (Emergency Services Mobile Communications Programme) team is running the ESN contract, would comment.
Lot 1 is the only lot left with any genuine competition. The Lot 2 User Services (network management services) contract only ever had two bidders and following the withdrawal of HP in July, Motorola Solutions was left as the sole supplier. Lot 3 Mobile Services (main area network) was cut from five to two bidders earlier this year, but after Telefonica O2 pulled out in June, EE became the only bidder left in the game.
The Home Office dropped Lot 4 (network extension services to the main Lot 3 network) at the beginning of the year claiming it could be covered by Lot 3. However, it appears to have been forced to back track as it published a PIN (prior information notice) on 13 August in the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU) with what appears to be a revamped version of Lot 4.
Five bidders were originally shortlisted for Lot 4, but only Arqiva was prepared to submit a bid with the others all declining on grounds that the timescales were unrealistic and, it is generally thought, the fact that it was impossible to make money on it.