RNS Number : 9587C
Office of Communications
23 October 2020
 

23 October 2020

Ofcom issues 'Statement of Objections' to Motorola and Sepura 

Ofcom has today issued a Statement of Objections to Motorola Solutions UK Limited, Motorola Solutions Inc. and Sepura Limited.   

The Statement[1] sets out Ofcom's provisional view that Motorola and Sepura[2] broke competition law by exchanging competitively sensitive information in relation to future pricing strategy. This exchange of information between senior employees occurred during a procurement exercise run by the Police ICT Company in 2018. 

Background to our investigation 

Airwave is a private communications network in Great Britain, used by the emergency services. It is based on standards known as "terrestrial trunked radio" - or TETRA - which allow for two-way radio communications between public safety and commercial organisations.[3]  

In 2014, the Home Office launched a tender to replace the Airwave network with a new 4G commercial mobile network, called the Emergency Services Network. Due to the roll-out of the new commercial network being delayed, it became apparent that TETRA devices, accessories and related services would be needed for longer than anticipated for use on the Airwave network.

In 2018, the Police ICT Company ran a procurement exercise to address a potential shortfall in TETRA devices, accessories and services. 

What we have provisionally found 

Ofcom has provisionally found that, between 5 September 2018 and at least 18 September 2018, senior employees at Motorola and Sepura exchanged information on strategic pricing intentions for the tender run by the Police ICT Company.

Our provisional finding is that this exchange of information restricted or distorted competition in the supply of TETRA devices, accessories and services for use on the Airwave network.  

We have also provisionally found that this exchange of competitively sensitive information occurred in a highly concentrated market, where Sepura and Motorola were effectively the only two competitors.  

Next steps 

The Statement of Objections sent by Ofcom to Motorola and Sepura sets out the evidence on which our provisional decision relies; the objections we have raised; the actions we propose to take, and our reasons for them. This statement of objections is one stage in our investigation and no assumption should yet be made that there has been a breach of competition law. 

Motorola and Sepura can now make representations to Ofcom, which we will carefully consider before taking a final decision.[4]

Notes to Editors 

1.    A Statement of Objections gives notice of a proposed infringement decision under the Competition Act 1998 to the parties involved. It is not a final decision and parties have the opportunity to make written and oral representations in response to the alleged case set out by Ofcom. The final decision will be taken by a case decision group, which is separate from the investigation team and was not involved in the decision to issue the Statement of Objections. 
2.    The Statement of Objections is addressed to (i) Motorola Solutions UK Limited and Motorola Solutions Inc; and (ii) Sepura Limited. Motorola supplies secure, encrypted technology, equipment and related services to the UK Government and commercial organisations. Sepura supplies digital radio solutions including devices, accessories, software and support tools to both public safety and commercial organisations.  
3.    A TETRA network is generally more resilient, robust and secure than conventional communications networks; it provides coverage and capacity exactly where it is required, even if the network is busy, which is crucial for public safety. 
4.    The CMA and Ofcom have concurrent competition powers under the Competition Act 1998 in relation to activities connected to electronic communications, broadcasting and postal services matters. The CMA and Ofcom agreed that Ofcom was the competent person who should exercise prescribed functions under the Act in relation to this matter. Ofcom was therefore allocated the case in accordance with the Competition Act 1998 (Concurrency) Regulations 2014 and considered the materials related to the investigation. 

ENDS

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