Ofcom gives provisional decision on Motorola competition case

Ofcom has issued a statement of objections to Motorola Solutions UK and Sepura, stating that they infringed on the Competition Act by exchanging competitively sensitive information relating to future pricing intentions in connection with a procurement exercise run by the Police ICT Company in 2018.

Specifically, the provisional decision alleges that Motorola and Sepura participated in a concerted practice that had the object of preventing, restricting or distorting competition in the supply of devices, accessories and related services for use on the Airwave network in Great Britain and may have affected trade within the UK and between EU Member States.

This represents a stage in Ofcom’s investigation, so it noted that no assumption should be made at this stage that there has been a breach of competition law. The regulator will now take representations from the companies, which will be considered before Ofcom takes a final decision.

Airwave is a private network in the UK which is used by the emergency services. It is based on terrestrial trunked radio (TETRA) standards and allows two-way radio communications between public safety users and commercial organisations.

In 2014, the Home Office launched a tender to replace the Airwave network with a new network called the Emergency Services Network (ESN), a 4G commercial mobile network. However, the roll-out of the new ESN was delayed, meaning TETRA devices, accessories and related services for use on the Airwave network were required for longer than had been anticipated.

In 2018, the Police ICT Company ran a procurement exercise - acting as a central purchasing body on behalf of Airwave users - in order to address a forecasted shortfall in TETRA devices, accessories and related services for use on the Airwave network arising from this delay.

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