back to article UK watchdog launches full probe of Motorola Solutions' cop-comms deals on Emergency Services Network

Britain's competition watchdog is launching a full blown probe into whether Motorola Solutions is abusing its position as the sole provider of an emergency service network by holding up the replacement project. In early July, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said it was consulting on whether to take a deeper dive …

  1. Pascal Monett Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    "market investigation is not warranted"

    I'm sorry, at three years late and no less than 50% over budget on a project that was already in the billions, I do believe an investigation is indeed warranted.

  2. Peter2 Silver badge

    "This is a contractual matter between the Home Office and Motorola Solutions and this investigation threatens the principles of long-term government contracting in the UK,"

    The investigation will do no such thing. The outcome might, but were they found innocent then I can't see how there could be any detriment to the principles of long term contracting. The only way that an investigation would threaten the principle of long term government contracting would be if the supplier was found to have abused their market position, in which case there would be a massive scandal.

  3. elsergiovolador Silver badge

    Representation

    "This is a contractual matter between the Home Office and Motorola Solutions and this investigation threatens the principles of long-term government contracting in the UK,"

    Ohhh... so the Tax Payer is not the party in the contract anymore? Surely we should expect transparency if we all are paying for this!

  4. John 98

    Will there still be 4g kit around when it does {or does not) launch?

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      In 10years there will be a contract extension to support legacy 5G

  5. idiot taxpayer here again

    About fucking time

    The fact that they are resorting to veiled threats about future business dealings with the U.K. tells me they have something to hide.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: About fucking time

      Dino: My brother and I have got a little proposition for you Colonel.

      Luigi: Well suppose some of your tanks was to get broken and troops started getting lost,

      Colonel: Are you threatening me?

      Dino: Oh, no, no, no.

      Luigi: We can guarantee you that not a single armored division will get done over for fifteen bob a week.

  6. Lord Elpuss Silver badge

    "The existing service represents “exceptional value” for British taxpayers and the company has offered price reductions “while making significant investments to maintain the network”."

    Offering price reductions without a corresponding reduction in scope is the same as saying you were overpriced to begin with. Investigate away.

    1. Commswonk

      Offering price reductions without a corresponding reduction in scope is the same as saying you were overpriced to begin with.

      Well yes... perhaps; it all depends on the starting point. When TETRA / Airwave rolled out there will have been a significant part of the cost allocated to amortising the costs of site acquisition and mast / building construction. It seems unlikely that the payments allocated to paying off those costs would be based on a assumption that the contract would be extended at all, never mind for as long as it has been so far.

      I don't know for sure either way, but Motorola should have been able to reduce the annual charges paid by the Taxpayer because all the initial expenditure had been covered, with "just" maintenance costs chargeable thereafter.

      On the face of it Motorola ought to be been able to offer a reduction some years ago, even allowing for the fact that some of the electronics might have to be replaced, but I strongly suspect that they didn't.

      Would the "corporate you" if you thought you could get away with it?

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Best of luck chaps

    They were pulling the same tricks on this side of the pond as well.

    Cut your losses, it will never work in a real emergency. Every time their "reserved capacity" emergency communication network has been tested, it collapses and the emergency communications fall back to 85 year old Ham radio operators driving around in pickup trucks. When the 3g version collapsed, they swore the 4g version would fix it and the emergency services should dump their "obsolete" radios (also mostly Motorola kit) for PTT cell phones, before the 4g version was even working. It was delayed several years, then promptly blew up exactly the same way as the 3g version.

    Now we are on 5g, LTE, more empty promises, and an EMS radio system that has been flagged with issues back to the verdict day riots in what '93?

    The clowns at Motorola are pirates, and seem to have no qualms about selling a snake oil system to emergency services people, I hope they get pounded into the ground like a tent stake, but I also hope the rest of the world will be wake up to the legacy of problems and stop giving them the opportunity to crate chaos in essential services. Their worse than the bloody Russians.

  8. Vadiba

    The issue isn't so much Motorola - though it is warranted to investigate any org with a foot in both camps - but rather the way this whole programme has operated from the very beginning. It was poorly devised, managed and scoped with unrealistic costs and timescales. To go out to tender before the 3GPP standards for the critical users had even been written for the technology showed the level of incompetence of the consultants and the HO. It would be fairly easy to identify those individuals in the HO and consultants and hold them personally responsible for the catastrophe so that they could never work on such a programme ever again. The financial cost to the individual emergency services in recruiting and retaining their project teams for so many years while this disaster bumbles along is horrendous, let alone what the operating cost is likely to be so as to make a profit before its replacement comes along.

  9. Vadiba

    "This is a contractual matter between the Home Office and Motorola Solutions and this investigation threatens the principles of long-term government contracting in the UK,". Sound suspiciously similar to what Mark (now Sir) Sedgwill said when giving evidence to Richard Bacon MP on the PAC in 2016 when justifying the hands off approach to challanging Motorola on delivery.

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