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Motorola splashes £817m buying out police comms biz Airwave

Branches into emergency services walkie talkie tech

British Transport Police cop. Pic: Gordon Joly

Motorola has snapped up Airwave, the walkie-talkie biz used by Blighty's emergency services, for £817.5m.

Airwave reckons it is the largest private operator of a public safety network in the world, delivering voice and data communications to more than 300 emergency and public service agencies in Great Britain.

However, the Home Office is currently seeking to replace Airwave communications equipment used by the fire, police and ambulance services.

The plan is to move paramedics and firefighters off the bespoke Airwave network and onto EE’s 4G mobile broadband service.

Airwave has filed a High Court claim against the Home Office, alleging it was discriminated against in the bidding process.

Speaking about the acquisition, Greg Brown, chairman and CEO of Motorola, said: “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.”

Richard Bobbett, chief executive officer of Airwave, said: “Airwave has proven expertise in delivering mission-critical voice and data communications services, and over the past 15 years we’ve invested significantly in the development of a secure, resilient and interoperable network.”

The company's technology is based on Terrestrial Trunked Radio (TETRA), which is provided by Motorola. Its network is said to cover 99 per cent of Great Britain’s landmass. The company was formed in 2000 and is based in Berkshire, England. ®

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