Motorola Expects U.K. Government to Extend Airwave Contract
Wednesday, May 26, 2021 | Comments

Motorola Solutions CEO Greg Brown said the company expects that the U.K. government will extend its contract for the Airwave network that currently provides critical communications to U.K. first responders.

The U.K. Home Office is working on a replacement LTE network, called the Emergency Services Network (ESN), for the Airwave LMR network but that work has been delayed multiple times over the last few years.

“I’m not going to speak for the customer, but they have said publicly they want to extend Airwave again,” Brown said during the J.P. Morgan’s Technology Media and Communications Conference May 25. “They’ve gone through one extension. Originally, when we bought it … we contemplated the terms and conditions around an extension and the construct of those conditions for those extensions.”

In September, during a hearing before the U.K. Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee, representatives of the Home Office said that the Airwave network would likely operate until 2024 due to the ESN delays.

Earlier in his talk at the conference, Brown said that many Motorola customers, in the U.S. and elsewhere, are not moving entirely to LTE from LMR and are instead looking to continue upgrading their LMR systems or supplement it with LTE.

“Now, I know that the U.K. Home Office aspires ESN to do more, and we support that,” Brown said. “We will obviously fuel and work with them closely to enable ESN, but by the customer’s own omission, I think Airwave and ESN, much like here in the states with LTE and LMR, will continue to coexist.”

He also touted the performance of the Airwave network over the past several years.

“Again, Airwave has proven to be fantastic,” Brown said. “It’s got about 350,000 subscribers, users, police and fire. And, again this is a network that has been optimized. It has 99% coverage, so when you think about a network to contemplate replacing an LMR network, the requirements for performance are breathtakingly stringent.”

Brown said that he did not know how long the contract would be extended if is extended, but the contract must be extended by the extended by the end of the year under its terms.

“It would my anticipation that Airwave gets extended,” he said. “How long, we’ll see. But, it has clearly proven to be absolutely mission critical and if you talk to users, you will hear that as well.”

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On 6/8/21, Tim Masson said:
LTE Later Than Ever


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