back to article European Commission prepares antitrust probe for O2/Hutchison deal

The European Commission has opened what it's calling “an in-depth investigation” to consider whether the proposed acquisition of Telefónica UK and its O2 operation by Hutchison “would harm competition.” “The Commission has concerns that the transaction could lead to higher prices, less choice and reduced innovation for …

  1. Slx

    They allowed the 3 to buy O2 in Ireland, despite concerns at national level by ComReg, the Irish version of Ofcom.

    The only proviso was that certain numbers of MVNOs would be guaranteed and spectrum reserved for them - virgin, tesco and ID mobile along with 48 and Lyca all live on Three now.

    It has taken us from a highly competitive 4 MNOs where 3 was the agreessive innovator on price to just 3 MNOs

    Three also are supposed to be spending several hundred million on a "the big upgrade" but so far I'm seeing no benefit. They offer me 2TB per month of 4G that regularly gets about 3mbit/s, so something is being oversold.

    Meanwhile Vodsfone has a 5GB cap but connects at about 57mbits on my iPhone

    1. auburnman

      3 MNO's should be viewed as unhealthy and the absolute bare minimum for a functioning competitive market and the regulators should be doing everything in their power to stop it falling to that level.

    2. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: They allowed the 3 to buy O2 in Ireland

      I think the EU investigation is really just a formality, particularly given what happened in Ireland and how Three fully addressed the EU's concerns, as far as they related directly and specifically to Three. Also, given that the UK CMA has already ruled on BT/EE against the backdrop of the proposed Three/O2 merger, I think they are quietly confident of the outcome.

      The issues the EU CMA will need to assess with respect to the UK market is if they decide that a reduction in MNO's from four to three over two separate physical national networks is a step too far, how are they going to create conditions that will maintain or even enlarge the market, given Telefónica have made it clear they are exiting the UK market and other major EU companies such as BT, France Telecom & Deutsche Telecom have made it clear they are not interested in buying Telefónica UK. Which would mean opening the door to a bid from a non-EU company; given the current state of affairs concerning US companies, I can see valid objections being raised if one appeared out of nowhere and made a bid for Telefónica UK. So effectively the EU if they rule against the Three/O2 merger are saying they want a new entrant from the east, ie. India or China...

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Wrong Target

    The real competition limiting deal is the BT / EE deal. The biggest fixed provider allowed to purchase the biggest mobile operator, noting that BT already had a mobile business unit selling 4G and WiFi service.

  3. Brian Miller 1

    Smacks of organisational nepotism

    Yeah, we will allow orange and T-mobile to merge to form EE, yes we will allow BT to buy this massive chunk of market.

    No, you two little guys can't team up to compete with the massive incumbents.

    Hmmm? Sounds fair.

  4. Michael Jennings

    Vodafone Australia was always awful.

    >Customer service teams were overrun and Vodafone Australia became a byword for poor service.

    To be fair, Vodafone Australia was a buzzword for poor service already, and had been pretty much forever before that.

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