Competition Act investigation regarding the provision of equipment and related services in the electronic communication sector

23 October 2020

Open

Investigation into Providers of equipment and related services in the electronic communications sector in the UK
Case opened 07 June 2019
Summary

This investigation will establish whether competitors in the provision of equipment and related services in the electronic communications sector in the UK have infringed competition law through the potential sharing of commercially sensitive information, including information on future pricing.

Relevant legal provision(s)

Section 2 of the Competition Act 1998 and Article 101 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.

Ofcom has today issued a Statement of Objections to Motorola Solutions UK Limited (“Motorola”), its ultimate parent company Motorola Solutions Inc., and Sepura Limited (“Sepura”), collectively referred to as the “Parties”.

The Statement of Objections sets out Ofcom’s provisional view that the Parties infringed Chapter 1 of the Competition Act 1998 and Article 101 of the Treaty of the Functioning of the European Union  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 Statement of Objections alleges that Motorola and Sepura participated in a concerted practice that had the object of preventing, restricting or distorting competition in the supply of TETRA 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. The Statement of Objections states the facts on which Ofcom relies; the objections we have raised; the actions we propose to take and our reasons for proposing to take those actions. It represents one stage in Ofcom’s investigation and no assumption should be made at this stage that there has been a breach of competition law.

The Parties can now make representations to Ofcom, which will be carefully considered before Ofcom takes a final decision.

Background

Airwave is a private network in Great Britain 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 LTE network. However, the roll-out of the new ESN is delayed meaning TETRA devices, accessories and related services for use the Airwave network are 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.


Case leader

Mary Asante (mary.asante@ofcom.org.uk)

Case reference CW/01241/05/19