U.K. Authority Sets Timeline for Investigation into Motorola’s Roles in Airwave, ESN
Monday, November 08, 2021 | Comments
The U.K.’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) released a timeline for its investigation into Motorola Solutions’ dual roles as owner of the Airwave network and a supplier for the Emergency Service Network Project (ESN).

Under the timelines, the authority expects to release an initial report on the investigation by April and a final report in June. The CMA expects to hold response hearings on its initial report in May. Under statutory deadlines, the investigation must be completed by April 24, 2023, according to the timeline.

The independent team leading the investigation will release initial information requests, release an issue statement, collect response from main and third parties to that issue statement and hold hearings through January.

The CMA also announced the team that will lead the investigation. The inquiry will be led by Martin Coleman, who was appointed panel chair and panel inquiry chair in 2018 and has served a non-executive director of the CMA board since October 2017.

In July, the CMA conducted a consultation on whether or not it should open an investigation into Motorola’s involvement in both the ESN and Airwave networks. In October, the organization officially launched the investigation.

Currently, the Airwave network provides radio communications for public-safety organizations across the U.K. Motorola purchased the Airwave network in 2016. The Airwave network was originally intended to be replaced by the next-generation ESN network in 2019, but due to delays with the ESN, the U.K. has extended the contract for the Airwave network multiple times.

During a recent Motorola earnings call, CEO Greg Brown said the current contract for Airwave extends through 2022, and the company has had discussions with the U.K. Home Office on extending it. U.K. Home Office officials have estimated that the network could be active until 2025.

Motorola was selected as a supplier on the ESN in 2015. At the time of Motorola’s purchase of the Airwave network, the CMA approved noting that the U.K.’s contract for the Airwave network was set to end in 2019.

In the report the CMA released along with the launch of the investigation, the CMA said that it is concerned about Motorola’s role in both projects as it would have “an incentive to delay or shape the roll-out of the ESN to its advantage” because of the profits from the Airwave network.

During the earnings call, Brown said Motorola was working with the CMA as the process moved along.

“We’ll continue to dialogue with both the U.K. Home Office and the CMA, and I am hopeful that we will have constructive outcomes, but we’ll see how it plays out over the next couple of months,” he said.

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Comments
On 11/30/21, Manuel Alvarez said:
Always an investigation is necessary when a company wants to own the chicken and the eggs.

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