Why and how? (not protectively marked)
Airwave costs HMG £450M per year for the 3ES, moving to ESMCP is figure to save them almost £80M per year over 15 years which they can roll back into more bobbies on the beat, more ambulances, or more Brasso for Trumpton. Under the contract signed by Gordon Brown in 2000 as the PFI with Airwave, that cost rises towards the end of the contract, dramatically, which it is doing.
The contract with the network will be to cover 98% of this sceptred isle by the go live date. And they already have plans to massively bolster 4G as part of the government's plans to make it available to everyone, so there's a two edged sword here.
There is a lot in the bidding process to extend the existing network coverage to places not deemed economic for the network operator to ensure we get coverage.
As for bandwidth - Motorola have already demonstrated a system where the ESN portion of 4G network use can be ramped up in an emergency without effecting regular users, and vice versa, thus isolating the two operations on one network.
There are a few apps and issues to resolve before go-live, but since that's 18months away, it's not insurmountable.
What you have to remember is that we in the UK will be the leaders in this technology and other countries will follow our lead as they did with TETRA. EE recognise this and are keen to be part of it.
The only concern for the whole project is updating 45000 vehicles in a 24-36 month period when there are not enough skilled and most importantly competent installer to carry out the work. When Airwave was rolled out the Public Safety world was turned upside down and well established radio engineers were ignored in favour of anyone that could hold a blowtorch and wrap wired in insulting tape, with alarming consequences to the vehicles they bunged kit into. The Home Office don't want that to happen this time around so have set a high standard requirement. Getting engineers trained and accredited in time should be possible if they can be found and paid a sensible rate for the job.