It seems the major wireless carriers are not the only contenders for the FirstNet build out.
Telecommunications giants Ericsson, Nokia and Intel Security have joined forces with Rivada Networks, defense and IT contractor Harris Corporation, backhaul provider Fujitsu Network Communications and telecom construction firm Black & Veatch in an effort to win the $6.5 billion contract to build a nationwide broadband network for first responders.
The team – operating as Rivada Mercury – said it is well-positioned to deliver the new network, bringing both industry experience and an innovative approach to the table.
Rivada Mercury is headed by former Sprint CFO Joe Euteneuer, who was recently named co-CEO of Rivada Networks alongside Declan Ganley. Rivada Mercury’s CTO is Dennis Martinez, who is also currently CTO of Harris Corporation.
“Our team’s approach to FirstNet offers many benefits for America’s public safety community, namely we will provide public safety with a purpose-built Band 14 network and immediate turn-key access to the largest non-Band 14 coverage footprint in the U.S.,” Euteneuer said.
Rivada Mercury said Tuesday a “key differentiator” in its bid is its proposed use of Dynamic Spectrum Arbitrage (DSA) technology that would enable the dynamic sale of excess network capacity to commercial buyers. Rivada said the technology would not interfere with first responders’ broadband access and would provide the ability to share with enterprise partners.
“As a pioneer in dynamic spectrum arbitrage, Rivada Mercury’s innovative technology will both fund the FirstNet build out and sustained operation and maintenance by selling excess capacity to commercial users,” Euteneuer said.
The plan to sell excess capacity would be key to Rivada’s success, as FirstNet’s RFP required bidders to agree to pay FirstNet $5.6 billion over the course of 25 years in exchange for use of the D-block 700 MHz spectrum allotted for the project.
Who else is bidding?
FirstNet did not disclose the number or names of bidders following the close of its’s Request for Proposals (RFP) last week in accordance with its procurement rules.
However, that doesn’t mean the bidders can’t out themselves.
So far, Rivada Mercury has been the first to step forward. Fortune on Tuesday reported there are at least two other offers in the running, including one from AT&T and Motorola as well as one from another outsider like Rivada Mercury.
In the past, Verizon’s name has been floated by analysts as a likely top contender, but the carrier has been mum on its status.
One carrier that almost certainly is not in the running is T-Mobile. Back in April, T-Mobile 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.
Now that bids are closed, FirstNet has moved into its multi-level evaluation phase, where it will determine the best offer to complete the work.
FirstNet CEO Mike Poth said the contract may be awarded as soon as November.
According to the RFP, the winning bidder will receive up to $6.5 billion to fund the build out.
Filed Under: Infrastructure