back to article Competition risk? BT faces rigorous frisking over £12.5bn EE takeover bid

The UK's competition watchdog has agreed to hasten a probe into BT's planned multi-billion pound merger with EE. Last month, the one-time state monopoly urged Blighty's Competitions and Markets Authority to swiftly move on from the first phase of its inquiry into BT's bid to slurp up the mobile operator. The regulator said in …

  1. dogged

    How is it a threat to the mobile market when BT have (effectively) no mobile service?

    Don't get me wrong, I'm not boosting for BT or EE here, I just don't see the threat (in the mobile market).

    Now, 3 eating O2 is a definite threat to competition. Alas, I do hope that one goes ahead but only because I'm with O2 and Three's network is far better in my home area (in that Three's actually works and O2's doesn't. At all. Damn them and their shitty TuGo app that also doesn't work).

    1. Test Man

      Because BT will have a possibly detrimental effect when it becomes one of the largest. What BT have (or don't have) now has nothing to do with it, it's what it WILL have that is of concern.

    2. theblackhand

      The threat comes in the form of the telecoms quad-play - broadband/mobile/TV/Internet

      In 2014, Ofcom gives BT a estimated market share of 31% of broadband and EE say they have a 33% market share. BT's relationship with OpenReach helps for providing backhaul bandwidth to mobile towers and BT are starting to invest more in TV to improve content provision.

      This is largely theoretical, but any precedent set allowing BT/EE will likely be countered by the two main competitors in triple/quad play: Vodafone and Sky

      Now for pure speculation:

      If it does go ahead, I would expect Vodafone take Virgin and Sky to take O2/3 leaving anyone outside these large players (virtual MNO's, ITV, BBC) in an uncomfortable place.

      As for consumers? They will probably benefit from more content (whether they want it or not) but it will come at a higher cost.

    3. Steven Jones

      There are two perceived main issues. The first is that alternative backhaul operators will lose a major customer as BT makes use of its own fixed network for EE's fixed line interconnections. That could well reduced competition in the backhaul market used by mobile operators to their disadvantage, although any such BT backhaul will have to be available to other operators on the same terms under the equivalence regime. There are also more subtle issues such as OR having a guaranteed customer for products such as those being developed to support mobile "micro-cells" which exploit much of the infrastructure put in place for FTTC/FTTP deployments. This would be difficult for other back-haul operators to replicate and might, again, make mobile operators more dependent on BT.

      As Ofcom have a proposal to force OR to offer a "dark" fibre product, this may go some way to ameliorating this issue, although it's unlikely any competitor will be able to replicate the "micro-cell" products in much of the country.

      A second issue is whether BT retail will be able to exploit its fixed line customer base using bundles, although I've no doubt that Ofcom will look at those very closely.

      There's also a general point from the point of view of a other operators, and that is they are going to do their utmost to oppose anything which will create a stronger competitor. Companies will always raise objections where they see themselves disadvantaged.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "How is it a threat to the mobile market ...."

    Because, as the article quotes, OFCOM are concerned about the consequence of the country's largest telecoms infrastructure player having ownership of one of the largest MNOs, creating concerns about the future ability of MVNOs to access wholesale services, and the impact on third party backhaul providers.

    And off topic, is just me faced with weird tiny fonts on Channel Reg, and repeated unrequested "password reset" messages from the main Reg sign in? What have they screwed up?

    1. dogged

      Channel Reg is a hideous abomination that should be merged into the main site. It's ugly, it's clunky, it requires a separate login and it's generally unnecessary.

      1. A Non e-mouse Silver badge


        I think Channel Reg needs another login if you reject third-party cookies.

        1. dogged

          Re: @dogged

          I think if you don't reject third-party cookies, you need to wise up.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Don't Worry BT

    I believe it has been handed over to FIFA to look into your case.

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