Facing protests from other vendors, the FBI has cancelled plans to hand industry giant Motorola Solutions Inc. a sole-source contract worth up to $500 million to upgrade the bureau's antiquated nationwide two-way radio network, reports McClatchy. The FBI had argued that switching to another vendor would force the purchase of a complete new system costing $1.2 billion because the existing Motorola network has proprietary features that can't interact with non-Motorola equipment.
However, the bureau proposal in July was met by three formal protests to the Government Accountability Office, led by a small Florida radio manufacturer, RELM Wireless Corp., which said uniform design standards for radios had ensured that other brands could connect to a Motorola system. The firm sells walkie-talkies with the same specifications as Motorola's for less than half the price, $1,700 compared with Motorola's $4,200. Illinois-based Motorola commands an estimated 80 percent of the U.S. public safety market. An FBI official said the bureau will “reassess its requirements as well as the acquisition strategy for meeting them.”