Telefónica and Arqiva have won more than £2bn worth of contracts to deliver communication services for the smart meter roll-out.
The UK arm of the Spanish telecoms giant, which operates using the O2 brand, will provide the communications infrastructure to connect smart meters in the Central and Southern regions as part of a deal worth £1.5bn while Arqiva will receive £625m to handle the North region, including Scotland.
In August the two firms were selected as preferred bidders for communications contracts for the Smart Meter Implementation Programme (SMIP) to roll out 53 million gas and electricity meters across the UK between 2015 and 2021, which the Government estimates will deliver £6.7bn in benefits to homes and businesses nationwide.
Communications technology is integral to the system as smart meters depend on the two way communication of data so that consumers can benefit from more accurate billing as well as real-time information to put them in control of managing and saving energy.
David Plumb, digital director at Telefónica UK, said: “This contract win is a significant endorsement of the steps we have taken to focus on new digital services such as machine-to-machine communications and the leadership we are establishing in these areas.
“We are also proud to be playing such a central role in the delivery of a key national infrastructure programme which will transform our energy industry.”
The technology Telefónica plans to rely on during the 15 year agreement is based on the company’s existing cellular network complimented with mesh technology, which relies on a broad network of wireless nodes that can share a connection across a large area, to provide connections in hard to reach areas.
The firm says the technology has already been thoroughly tested and currently connects over 400,000 smart meters in the UK.
Arqiva, the prime contractor for the North region, has selected Sensus to provide the smart metering communications technology for the new network while EDMI will deliver the communications hubs that will be needed to connect smart meters and In-Home Displays (IHDs) in each home.
Arqiva CEO John Cresswell said: “Following the news a few weeks ago on preferred bidders, Arqiva is immensely proud to have won the tender to provide the smart metering communications service in Scotland and northern England.
“This reflects the strength of our proven solution and our exceptional track record in delivering and running critical national infrastructure. Smart meters are vital in empowering consumers to save energy and this is the first step in delivering an energy secure Britain.”