Airwave Solutions

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Airwave Solutions Ltd.
Industry Telecommunications
Predecessor BT Airwave / O2 Airwave
Founded 2000; 18 years ago (2000)[1]
Headquarters Nova South, 160 Victoria Street, London, SW1E 5LB, United Kingdom[2]
Number of locations
Glasgow, Hemel Hempstead, London, Rugby, Slough, Warrington
Area served
United Kingdom
Products Public safety network
Owner Motorola Solutions
Number of employees

Airwave Solutions Ltd. is a British mobile communication company that operates the Airwave network, a mobile communications network used by Great Britain's emergency services. The Airwave network is based on the specialist Terrestrial Trunked Radio specification. Airwave was acquired by Motorola Solutions in February 2016 and now operates as a wholly owned subsidiary.[2]


Airwave was established in 2000 by BT as BT Airwave.[3] BT Airwave along with BT Quadrant secured a Public Private Partnership (PPP) contract worth £2.5bn to supply of Professional Mobile Radio (PMR) communications to the police and other ‘blue light’ services.[4] BT Airwave was part of the BT Wireless division which was spun off from BT Group in 2002 to ultimately become part of O2[1] and became Airwave O2 Limited,[5] commonly known as O2 Airwave.[6] In April 2007, Airwave was acquired by two Macquarie Group investment funds, Macquarie European Infrastructure Fund II (MEIF II) and Macquarie CPPIB Communications Pty Limited, for $3.8 billion (£1.9 billion).[1][7] On 3 December 2015 the company was acquired by Motorola Solutions for £817 million (~ US$1000K).[8] Some of the payment was deferred to the following year and Macquarie were supporting the transaction.[9]

On 19 February 2016 Motorola Solutions announced it completed its acquisition of Airwave,[10]

Airwave Network[edit]

Performance during 2011 England riots[edit]

During the 2011 England riots, several police officers experienced "significant difficulties" with the Airwave equipment and were forced to use their own personal mobile phones to co-ordinate strategy during the riots.[11] The Police Federation review speaks of "significant local technical difficulties" and a "significant communications failure," which was quoted in the Guardian newspaper.[11]

However, the National Policing Improvement Agency (NPIA) responded that the network did manage to cover all 16,000 officers and that "[s]ome officers had to wait a few seconds for their calls to get through, but fundamentally, the network proved to be most resilient."[11][12]

Performance during the 2012 Summer Olympics[edit]

On 27 January 2009, the organizing committee for the 2012 Summer Olympics confirmed that Airwave would provide private radio service for all venues during the Games using its Terrestrial Trunked Radio (TETRA) but with a new and independent communications infrastructure separate from the public safety infrastructure.[13] The PMR network, named Apollo, provided voice communications for over 18,000 staff and volunteers from the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) during the 2012 Games.[14]


  1. ^ a b c Parker, Andrew (17 April 2007). "Macquarie buys UK's Airwave". Financial Times. Retrieved 15 June 2014. (Subscription required (help)). 
  2. ^ a b "Airwave: Corporate Information". Airwave Solutions. Retrieved 13 January 2018. 
  3. ^ "Welcome to BT Airwave". Internet Archive. Retrieved 13 January 2018. 
  4. ^ Tattersall, P. R. (January 2001), "Professional mobile radio - the BT Airwave public safety service and the path for technology and service evolution", Professional mobile radio — the BT Airwave public safety service and the path for technology and service evolution, BT Technology Journal, BT 
  5. ^ "AIRWAVE SOLUTIONS LIMITED". Companies House. Retrieved 13 January 2018. 
  6. ^ "Airwave O2 Limited: About O2 Airwave". Internet Archive. Retrieved 13 January 2018. 
  7. ^ "Corporate Information". Airwave Solutions. Retrieved 15 June 2014. 
  8. ^ "Motorola splashes £817m buying out police comms biz Airwave". The Register. 4 December 2015. Retrieved 5 December 2015. 
  9. ^ "Motorola Solutions to Expand Managed & Support Services Business with Airwave Acquisition". (Press release). Airwave Solutions. 4 December 2015. Retrieved 5 December 2015. 
  10. ^ "Motorola Solutions Completes Acquisition of Airwave". Motorola Solutions. Retrieved 19 February 2016. 
  11. ^ a b c Townsend, Mark (3 December 2011). "Revealed: how police lost control of summer riots". The Observer. Guardian Media Group. Retrieved 15 June 2014. 
  12. ^ "Statement regarding the Police Federation report 'Policing the Riots'" (Press release). Airwave Solutions. 4 December 2011. Archived from the original on 14 July 2014. 
  13. ^ Richards, Anthony; Fussey, Pete; Andrew, Silke (2010). Terrorism and the Olympics: Major Event Security and Lessons for the Future. Routledge. pp. 189–190. ISBN 1136854975. 
  14. ^ Apollo

External links[edit]