Motorola Solutions’ Brown Expects to Double Public Safety LTE Revenue this Year
Thursday, September 10, 2015 | Comments

Motorola Solutions will double its public safety Long Term Evolution (LTE) revenue this fiscal year compared with last year with most near-term LTE growth expected outside the United States and the LTE revenue being additive to the firm’s LMR revenue, according to Chairman and CEO Greg Brown.

“I think public safety LTE is ready for prime time right now,” Brown said during Citi’s 2015 Global Technology Conference in New York Sept. 9.

Brown said the Los Angeles Regional Interoperable Communications System Authority (LA-RICS) network contract has been descoped and modified to about $100 million in total award value. He said the company is also implementing public safety LTE networks in two separate countries in the Middle East, “which are a few hundred million dollars in total award value.”

“The growth in public safety LTE in the near term will be outside the United States,” he said. He highlighted the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) schedule, with the U.S. public-safety broadband network rollout targeted for around 2017. “I think it will be slower in the U.S., and more opportunity … internationally in the next 12 to 18 months.”

For LA-RICS, Motorola is building a new Project 25 (P25) voice network along with the LTE network. He said in the two Middle East countries where Motorola Solutions is building public safety LTE, he anticipates the agencies will also upgrade their current mission-critical voice networks by the end of this year or next year.

“Public safety LTE is additive to LMR,” Brown said. “It’s very important to understand these are separate technologies, separate systems. The LMR is mission critical, always on, reliable, encrypted secure push-to-talk (PTT) voice. These public safety LTE networks are designed around the delivery of data and video. They are additive, not substitutional.”

Brown also predicted the company could increase its play in body cameras and video. “Stay tuned for other things we want to do there on the edge device,” he said.

The company has been focusing on what it calls “smart public safety,” which includes software and intelligence tools. He said the smart public safety market is about $6 billion, with about $5 billion of that from software content and $1 billion comprising public safety LTE. He said video crosses both those segments.

Brown said the smart public safety market is nascent and fragmented and the company will continue small acquisitions for software that is different from what it does in-house. He expects double-digit growth in the short term.

He also discussed the importance of the services market and said the $1 billion investment from Silver Lake last month will help Motorola Solutions focus more on the services market and merger and acquisition analysis, as well as other areas.

Brown said Motorola Solutions has reduced its operating expenses $525 million during the past three years, with a $175 million reduction this year. iDEN revenue will decrease about $40 million with a total of $100 million in iDEN revenue in fiscal year 2015 (FY15), he said.

The most challenging geographic areas in economic terms are Latin America led by Brazil and Eastern Europe led by Russia. Brown said the company has gained market share in North America and increased backlog and has “taken market share from our primary competitor in North America.” Airbus Defence and Space’s publicly announced plan to divest its LMR business will bode well for Motorola Solutions, he said.

Brown said Motorola has achieved a “golden triangle” of smart deployment of capital, an appropriate cost structure and top-line growth. “I like the position of the company,” he said. “We’ve worked very hard to get this pure-play Motorola Solutions company as well positioned as we are.”

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