02 has won a national tender to provide a voice and data communications service to all Ambulance Trusts in England.
The total value of the deal for network access and the provision and integration of equipment is approximately £390m over the 13-year lifespan of the contract.
The upgrade is based on the O2 Airwave national digital radio network dedicated to the emergency services, which has already been rolled out to all 51 geographical police forces in England, Scotland and Wales.
The deal aims to enhance the communications available to paramedics at incidents, offering up-to-date digital secure voice calls together with data services to front-line ambulances.
In addition to emergency and routine private communications, paramedics and control room operators will be able to talk directly with police at the scene of an incident when it is operationally beneficial.
Health Minister Lord Warner said: "This new digital service will help deliver better patient care by enabling ambulances to communicate more effectively, improve interfaces with hospitals and increase interoperability with the wider NHS.
"The service will be faster and more reliable, facilitating improved safety and support for NHS staff, increased security and a better response to major incidents through improved response time and interoperability between emergency services."
The Scottish Ambulance Service and the Welsh Ambulance Service NHS Trust have yet to decide whether to sign up with O2, but are scheduled to make a decision on the choice of communications system in the near future.
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