back to article Samsung gets 2-year contract extensions to provide rugged handsets for UK's troubled Emergency Services Network

The UK government has extended its contract with Samsung to provide LTE handsets for the much-troubled rollout of vital emergency services communications infrastructure. A tender notice published this week reveals the South Korean conglomerate will see the value of its contract, signed in 2017, rise from £210m to a maximum of …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hope I never have an emergency.....

    Emergency service network run by EE, using Samsung handsets, and managed by politicians and cabinet secretaries.

    $deity help us.

    Gone are the days when police forces and fire brigades employed competent radio engineering teams and deployed systems designed and built by engineers at Marconi, Pye and Motorola.

    1. batfink

      Re: Hope I never have an emergency.....

      Well you're completely fucked if you're in the 15% of the country not covered by the new system.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Hope I never have an emergency.....

        You're not much better off in you are in the other 85% allegedly covered by EE.

        1. whiteknight

          Re: Hope I never have an emergency.....

          You have no idea how this works, it's not your granny's 4g system.

    2. Ralph Online

      Re: Hope I never have an emergency.....

      And THAT's the BEST bit :-(

      Just guess who else is involved:

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A reason why on the railway....

    .... most technical staff do not use GSM-R.

    Only installed along the railway line, so if you are in the cafe getting a bacon sandwich, no-one can call you to a railway emergency.

    No fall back, a very short sighted management of rail response staff they are driving by road.

    1. Yet Another Hierachial Anonynmous Coward

      Re: A reason why on the railway....

      To be fair, GSM-R was intended to replace the various assorted and incompatible cab radio systems that were around, and to enable track side squads to contact signalboxes and train/power control without having to find the nearest signalpost telephone.

      It was never expecteded to be a catch-all comms system for the entire rail network and beyond. It was developed when pagers were still the de-facto means of getting someones attention when they were in the cafe with a bacon butty.

  3. m0th3r

    This is what you get when you try to shoehorn cellular networks into radio network duties

    Airwave uses narrow, 25kHz channels in UHF, which has much better propagation than any of the current 4G/LTE bands. It is also specifically designed for low-latency group calls, has built-in mutual authentication and strong encryption, in short, it was designed for what it is used for today. There is NO reason to replace it with anything else, as it can nowadays carry IP traffic (slowly) if required, and the emergency services have never really needed large data capacities. While you may need good quality real-time video sent to a command center, it's very infrequent, and you could use 4G/LTE modems for that specific capability, without having to move your entire comms system across. I've been involved with emergency services communications for 25+ years, and while transition to digital voice was eventually accepted once tech matured, 4G/LTE is completely the wrong solution.

  4. Frederic Bloggs
    Thumb Down

    The problem is that the User Services (or to be more specific: the Home Office) seem to think that they need a "one thing does everything" approach (on Android), whilst ignoring the fact that most high bandwidth data doesn't use one's handheld TETRA radio. The little that does could be accommodated through one's smartphone over IP and, if you really must, through your own MVNO. You don't need to spend 100s of extra pounds on smart phone that do "press to talk" (badly, especially compared to Tetra).

    But then TETRA (in the shape of Airwave) has always been looked down on by Government who have regarded it as too expensive. It was them that sold it off into the private sector in the first place. As a monopoly. Several times - just look at the list of previous "owners". Needless to say the Free Market has worked its magic and costs have risen well above inflation ever since. When ESN finally beds down into something useful, they will repeat the same mistakes all over again.

    The Android thing they have is interesting, because they *still* appear to be under the delusion that they can buy an "off the shelf" app to do anything they want - like call and dispatch - which requires a whole raft of specialist, low volume, back end and operational programming to achieve. Just where are you going to get, for example, a police, fire or ambulance dispatch system from? The App Store?

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    97% coverage?

    "We asked about EE's plan to raise the coverage to meet the 97 per cent of the UK covered by the Airwave/Tetra network?

    The mobile carrier responded: "EE has 4G in more places than any other UK network..."

    So that's a 'no' then.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sat in a warehouse

    Wonder if you sent an FOI request to the Home Office to ask how many handsets that have been built, that now can’t be updated with correct security protocols, are sat in a warehouse that can never be deployed…….

    Can’t even flog ‘em at a boot sale.

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