Dutourdumonde - Fotolia

Airwave sells up to Motorola Solutions for £700m

Airwave, which operates the UK's emergency services network, is being sold to Motorola Solutions, which provides the underlying tech for the network

Motorola Solutions is to buy Airwave, the private operator of public safety networks for £700m.

Airwave delivers voice and data communications to more than 300 emergency and public service agencies in Great Britain using terrestrial trunked radio (Tetra) technology provided by Motorola Solutions.

The Airwave network covers 99% of Great Britain. The company said its network is resilient and enables more than 300,000 police, fire, ambulance and other emergency personnel to easily and securely communicate with each other.

Commenting on the acquisition, Greg Brown, chairman and CEO of Motorola Solutions, said: “The Airwave acquisition demonstrates our commitment to public safety in Great Britain and to growing our managed and support services business. The combination of our years of experience as a trusted global leader in mission-critical communications, and Airwave’s proven service delivery platform, will provide Great Britain with innovative emergency services technology that enhances public safety today and into the future."

Along with providing the Tetra technology for Airwave, Motorola Solutions delivers, manages and operates large public safety networks in countries such as Norway, Denmark, Austria, Australia and the US.

LTE is the network technology that is likely to be deployed in the UK’s next-generation emergency network. However, in October 2015, Airwave COO John Lewis told Computer Weekly that 4G LTE was simply not ready to meet the needs of the emergency services, particularly in remote parts of the country where obtaining even 3G network connectivity is a struggle.

In November 2015 Airwave said it would take the Home Office to court over the procurement of Lot 3 – mobile services – of the Emergency Services Mobile Communications Programme (ESMCP), claiming it was not given fair treatment under procurement laws.

Operator EE was confirmed as the preferred bidder on Lot 3 – and Motorola on Lot 2 – earlier in November 2015.

Read more about Airwaves

Read more on Wireless networking