Motorola CEO Address ESN Contract Exit, Continuing Airwave Investigation
Friday, November 04, 2022 | Comments

Motorola CEO Greg Brown said the company expects to exit the Emergency Services Network (ESN) contract before it expires in 2024.

“I think it’s a result of ongoing conversations with the customer,” Brown said during Motorola’s quarterly earnings call on November 3. “I think more recently they reached an advanced stage, late stage negotiation where at this point, we think it is more than likely that we will be exiting ESN before the expiration of 2024. We don’t have an agreement signed with them at this point, but I think there is mutual interest at reaching that conclusion. I think we both think it is the right thing to do and a reasonable way to move forward.”

The ESN is a next-generation radio network that is intended to be a replacement for the Airwave network, which currently serves first responders across the U.K. Motorola owns the Airwave network. That has led to some concern from the U.K. Communications and Marketing Authority (CMA) and U.K. Home Office, which is the organization responsible for the ESN and Airwave networks.

Last October, the CMA launched an investigation into Motorola’s dual roles as a supplier on the ESN and as the owner of the Airwave network. This October, the CMA released a provisional decision where it said the U.K. Home Office was being charged more for the Airwave network than it should be. The authority suggested implementing price controls on what Motorola could charge for the network.

“We disagree with the CMA’s provisional decision and findings,” said Brown. “We are still convicted in our decision. I think we feel the CMA’s provisional decision is legally and economically flawed. I think it’s not proportional. It’s unprecedented and overreaching. That said we continue to stay in close communication with the CMA and the U.K. Home Office.”

Brown said that Motorola expects a final decision sometime early next year. Following that there will be a remedy implementation phase where the CMA determines how any remedies, such as a price control should be implemented, that could take nine to 10 months.

“We will defend our position and pursue all legal avenues available to us, including appeals if we feel it is the right thing to do,” Brown said.

He also noted that the provisional decision had a notation that invited the U.K. Home Office and Motorola to reach an arrangement different from the one in the provisional decision.

“We would certainly be open to that conversation,” he said.

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