Ericsson says its Motorola Solutions deal will not prevent participation in FirstNet proposals with others
Ericsson yesterday announced it is working with “multiple organizations” as part of efforts to deploy a nationwide public-safety LTE network for FirstNet, despite questions surrounding its long-term deal with Motorola Solution that is being described as an exclusive arrangement with the public-safety-communications giant.
“Ericsson is committed to making the mission of FirstNet a success,” Walter Megura, vice president and the head of industry and society for Ericsson North America, said in a prepared statement provided to IWCE’s Urgent Communications. “We are a strong proponent of public-safety communications. As the world’s largest supplier of wireless broadband solutions, we are working with multiple organizations to ensure the successful completion of America’s first nationwide high-speed public-safety network.”
Most industry sources have said that they expect key LTE infrastructure providers Ericsson and Nokia—a company that completed its purchase of Alcatel-Lucent earlier this year—to be part of all offeror teams submitting bids in response to the FirstNet request for proposals (RFP). Ericsson and Nokia have roles in all nationwide LTE networks deployed by U.S. commercial carriers, which are expected to participate on offeror teams at some level.
In addition, Rivada Mercury yesterday announced that both Ericsson and Nokia are key partners in its offeror team that is pursuing the FirstNet contract.
But last week, Motorola Solutions CEO Greg Brown noted during an investment conference that his company has “an exclusive arrangement with Ericsson, with several years left on that contract.” Motorola and Ericsson announced the arrangement in 2010, almost two years before Congress passed the legislation that created FirstNet.
After Brown made his statement, IWCE’s Urgent Communications asked Motorola Solutions to clarify the exclusive nature of its arrangement with Ericsson.
“Motorola is Ericsson’s exclusive channel-to-market partner to public safety in the United States,” Motorola Solutions spokesman Steve Gorecki told IWCE’s Urgent Communications. “That’s our role, and we’re obligated to buy certain RAN from Ericsson as part of that agreement.”
When asked whether the exclusive arrangement with Motorola Solutions would prevent Ericsson from participating on an offeror team responding to the FirstNet RFP, Gorecki said, “I can’t answer that … We’re not going to comment any further.”
Since then, IWCE’s Urgent Communications has contacted several legal and industry analysts about the matter. All agreed agreeing that it would be impossible to determine whether Ericsson’s participation in a FirstNet bid could be limited in some way without seeing the exact language in the contract with Motorola Solutions.
Some also suggested that federal-procurement rules that are being followed in the FirstNet procurement could impact the situation, as public-safety LTE initiatives contemplated when the Ericsson-Motorola Solutions deal was signed in 2010 were being proposed at the state and local levels