Telecoms.com – Europe officially blocks Three O2 deal, Hutch considers legal challenge
Here’s a round-up of third party commentary on the decision, which is mainly critical.
Bengt Nordstrom, Northstream: “Today’s decision will not lead to the EU’s desired outcome for the UK mobile market. Continuing as things stand will not lead to more competitive prices and service choice for consumers. It also won’t encourage operators to continue investing in their mobile networks to deliver a high quality of service to customers.
“The market is heading in a direction where there will be two to three fully converged players per market, each offering fixed, mobile, broadband and TV services. Therefore the idea of Liberty Global acquiring O2 to merge with its Virgin operation makes sense.
“There are multiple synergies between fixed and mobile networks, which both rely on fibre for their underlying structure. By approving BT-EE but not Three-O2, the regulators – far from encouraging competition – are actually artificially skewing the market in favour of BT-EE.
“By maintaining a four operator national market, the EU is enforcing a law of diminishing returns for operators and investors – and also consumers, in terms of quality of service. At a time when operators and regulators should be working together in the build-up to 5G and the Internet of Things, the EU is only concerned with consumer pricing and preserving outdated market arrangements that don’t reflect commercial reality.”