Smart devices to replace Airwave terminals revealed

The company that will supply new rugged smartphones to replace Airwave devices for 200,000 emergency service workers has been announced.

Nov 24, 2017
By Website Editor

The company that will supply new rugged smartphones to replace Airwave devices for 200,000 emergency service workers has been announced.

Samsung Electronics has been awarded a contract for the supply of smartphones and related accessories by the Home Office for use on the new Emergency Services Network (ESN).

The Samsung smartphones are expected to bring the latest digital devices into front line police use and negate the need for officers and staff to carry multiple work and personal phones, as well as an Airwave radio.

They will work on the new 4G network that will be provided by EE.

It is understood that Samsung was awarded the contract after Motorola, the only competitor in the running, pulled out in October.

A spokesperson for Samsung said the LTE smartphones were developed through extensive research and development to provide the most suitable solution for the challenges that currently affect communication within the emergency services.

“Fully optimised for the emergency environment, it will have a rugged design, be water resistant and both hardware and software features that will support emergency services functionality and critical voice services,” they added.


The ESN is a new 4G LTE communications network that will replace the current Airwave system that is mainly limited to voice radio.

It will be rolled out to all police, fire, ambulance and other public safety users across the UK over the next few years and provide mobile broadband data services allowing a huge range of additional capabilities for frontline staff.

The smartphones could incorporate body-worn video that can be live-streamed and support digital applications such as crime recording and location services.

As Airwave is phased out in stages, the Home Office and Cabinet Office expect substantial savings to the taxpayer.

A Home Office spokesperson said: “The Home Office has awarded a contract for the supply of 4G Handheld Mobile Devices and accessories to Samsung Electronics that can be used for the Emergency Services Network (ESN).

“Using a single ESN 4G device is more effective, efficient and less costly than using a combination of the existing Airwave devices and multiple commercial networks and standard 4G devices.”


Suk-Jea Hahn, executive vice president of Samsung Electronics’s Global Mobile B2B Team, said: “We are excited to be part of the UK ESN project and awarded the contract to supply LTE smartphones and accessories for ESN in the UK.

“Next-generation public safety communications is an important area of focus for Samsung, and we are now looking forward to working in partnership with ESN and UK emergency services organisations to bring our technology to the entire public safety community on the front line, supporting the great work they do every day.”

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