Rivada doubles 'low-ball' offer from AT&T for LTE public-safety assets in LA

Rivada is competing against FirstNet and others to provide wireless services to first responders.

Rivada Networks offered $25 million to buy the LTE assets of a public-safety network in Los Angeles, more than doubling what it called a “low-ball offer” from AT&T.

Board members of the Los Angeles Regional Interoperable Communications System (LA-RICS) had been scheduled to vote today on a $12 million deal that would transfer its assets to AT&T, as Urgent Communications reported this morning, so they could be used by FirstNet should California Gov. Jerry Brown decide to opt in to using the nationwide network for first responders. But Rivada—which is competing against FirstNet and others to provide wireless services to emergency workers—said it offered $25 million last week for the same assets.

“Yet again, AT&T is shortchanging public safety with a low-ball offer for LA-RICS’s assets. Rivada’s bid to build a truly statewide public-safety broadband network for all of California went in last week, and it included a far more generous offer for the LA-RICS network,” Rivada CEO Declan Ganley said in a press release. “This $12 million offer to LA-RICS is just the latest demonstration that without competition, public safety gets taken to the cleaners. Los Angeles deserves better, and California deserves better.”

Rivada said it planned to ask the LA-RICS board to consider the offers side-by-side rather than simply AT&T’s bid.

The bidding war underscores the white-hot competition between FirstNet, Rivada and Verizon to sell their offerings to states and local emergency agencies. The battle has become increasingly intense ahead of the Dec. 28 deadline for states and territories to decide whether they’ll use FirstNet; those that don’t make an official declaration will be opted in automatically.

FirstNet last week touted its 34th state customer when Missouri opted in to use its system and it came one step closer to scoring another major victory late last week when Verizon decided not to participate in California’s request for proposals for alternatives to AT&T’s offering. But it suffered its first significant loss last week when New Hampshire officially opted out, becoming the first state to choose not to use the system.