It looks like we’ll have to wait a bit longer to find out who will win the contract to build out FirstNet’s nationwide first responder communications network.
Though sights were set on a November 1 deadline, FirstNet CEO Mike Poth in a recent blog post said the procurement process was taking longer than expected and would extend beyond its target date.
“From the outset, FirstNet set an aggressive schedule for the procurement knowing that the timing of the award would depend on many factors given its significance and complexity, some of which are outside our control,” Poth wrote. “This is a highly complex acquisition that requires the input and support of multiple agencies and entities; it is critical that all parties are thorough and follow the necessary processes so that FirstNet gets this right for public safety.”
Poth did not give a new deadline for award of the contract but said FirstNet would continue to work with Federal partners to complete the RFP process “as swiftly as possible.”
Poth’s announcement comes about five months after bids for the project were submitted on June 1.
Though FirstNet cannot disclose who is in the running due to procurement rules, Rivada Mercury and AT&T have both confirmed they have submitted bids for the project. Verizon has also been floated by analysts as a contender, but CEO Lowell McAdam declined to comment on the matter during the carrier’s second quarter earnings call.
AT&T declined to comment on how or whether its recently announced merger with Time Warner would impact its FirstNet proposal.
One carrier that is likely sitting on the sidelines of this project is T-Mobile. In April, CTO Neville Ray said it was “doubtful” the Un-carrier would be a “significant player” in the FirstNet bidding due to timing issues and competing spectrum and network commitments.