Motorola picked for public-safety LTE network in San Francisco

Motorola (NYSE:MOT) announced it won a contract that is the first phase of a private 700 MHz LTE network buildout for first responders in the San Francisco Bay Area. 

The network will cover 10 sites in multiple counties in the Bay Area, and is part of the Bay Area Regional Interoperable Communications System (BayRICS) plan. The network will cover San Francisco, Alameda County/Oakland, Contra Costa County, as well as the cities of Santa Clara and Sunnyvale. The FCC in May granted a conditional waiver to San Francisco to begin building a public-safety LTE system.

Motorola said the system will be installed this year, and is expected to be running in early 2011. The spectrum for the San Francisco project is held by the Public Safety Spectrum Trust, a nonprofit corporation made up of public-safety groups.

"By combining a public-safety hardened LTE network with the existing voice and data networks, the San Francisco Bay Area has the opportunity to equip their first responders with the advanced communication tools they need to better protect themselves and their communities," Motorola co-CEO Greg Brown said during the company's earnings conference call. "This system is the first of its kind, and further demonstrates Motorola's leadership and commitment to delivering innovative, next-generation public-safety solutions.

Brown said Motorola's recently announced $1.2 billion sale of its wireless networking business to Nokia Siemens Networks will not affect this project or the company's public-safety LTE position in general. Brown said that "over time you'll see these hardened LTE systems be private and public." Interestingly, he also said Motorola is going to deliver a "private broadband LTE experience that will have roaming capabilities in rural areas and interoperability with the wireless operator in those respective regions."

Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ) plans to launch 25-30 commercial 700 MHz LTE markets in the fourth quarter and expand that in 2011. Verizon is also trying to partner with rural carriers to expand LTE's reach through licensing arrangements; no deals have been announced. Regional carrier MetroPCS (NYSE:PCS) also plans to launch LTE later this year. AT&T Mobility (NYSE:T) plans to trial its LTE network next year. Finally, Harbinger Capital Partners' LightSquared venture plans to launch its satellite and terrestrial LTE network by the third quarter of 2011.

For more:
- see this release

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