Arizona state officials yesterday changedto March 30  the deadline for vendors to submit bids to its request for proposals to build and operate a public-safety LTE radio access network (RAN) that would exist only if Arizona’s governor decides to opt out of the nationwide FirstNet buildout next year.

Arizona changed the RFP submission date today on state’s procurement website, marking the third time the deadline has been changed—proposals previously were due on Nov. 30 and Dec. 29. Those delays were supported by statements that Arizona wants its RFP bids to be submitted after FirstNet announces its nationwide contractor, as potential vendors have indicated that they do not want to answer state RFPs until FirstNet’s nationwide procurement is finalized.

Given this, the Arizona deadline delay was expected. Last week, legal documents associated with Rivada Mercury’s protest of being eliminated from consideration without reaching the “competitive range” of the procurement process included an agreement that the federal government would not award a nationwide FirstNet contract before March 1.

Arizona and Alabama are the two states that have issued RFPs seeking proposals for statewide public-safety LTE RANs, and both have expressed a desire to receive bids after the FirstNet nationwide contract is awarded. Alabama chose to have its RFP proposals be submitted 15 days after FirstNet makes its announcement, but Arizona rules require that a specific date be established for the proposal deadline. As a result, the state of Arizona continues to alter the proposal-submission date as estimates change for the earliest date that the nationwide FirstNet contract could be awarded.

New Hampshire is the only state to complete its public-safety LTE RAN procurement process, with Rivada Networks being chosen as its vendor with exclusive rights to build the access network, which must interoperate seamlessly with the nationwide FirstNet system.

None of the states that have issued RFPs have decided whether they will attempt to pursue the difficult opt-out alternative. Those decisions rest with the governors of each state and cannot be made until after FirstNet and its contractor submit deployment plans for each state—a process that is expected to occur about six months after FirstNet signs its contract with the winning bidder for the nationwide procurement.