UK authorities raised concerns about Motorola Solutions’ incentive to deliver a new emergency services network (ESN) given the profitability of its current system, as regulators opened a consultation on the issue.
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) revealed it was consulting on whether to launch a formal investigation into Motorola’s role providing the country’s current emergency services communications system alongside being a key supplier in its replacement.
Motorola’s current Airwave Network is set to be succeeded by the 4G-powered Emergency Services Network (ESN). The project was meant to be completed in 2019 but faced numerous issues, spiraling costs and delays, with the latest estimate for completion end-2026.
Various authorities including the UK government have questioned Motorola’s position and incentives, the regulator noted.
Although the CMA describes the Airwave Network as “not working well, resulting in significant detriment to customers and the taxpayer”, it estimates Motorola could make around £1.2 billion from it between 2020 and 2026.
“At the moment, Motorola is the only provider of critical mobile radio network services used by our emergency service workers and is involved in both the current and future set-up. We’re worried that the company could be cashing in on its position, while taxpayers are left to foot the bill,” CMA CEO Andrea Coscelli said.
“The CMA is minded to launch a market investigation to dig deeper into its concerns and will now consult with a range of stakeholders, including the government, on its plans.”
Motorola acquired Airwave in February 2016 shortly after inking a contract for software for its replacement, a deal the CMA claims was only cleared due to the scheduled 2019 shutdown of the legacy network.
The consultation on whether to launch a full probe closes in September.