T-Orange merger goes to Brussels

T-Orange merger goes to Brussels

So, if Orange and T-Mobile were hoping they could slide their merger under the radar of their UK operator rivals, they must be feeling somewhat disappointed this week.

As the two sweethearts went to Brussels this week to ask the EU Commission to bless their merger, Vodafone, 3 and O2 noisily wheeled out their big guns, making it very clear they will not accept this deal without a fight. 

The three operators have two key demands. The first is that the EU Commission must refer the investigation of the proposed merger to the UK’s Office of Fair Trading (OFT), to protect the interests of UK consumers.

Their second is that, since the merged entity will get more than its fair share of 1800MHz spectrum, it must give up some of its spectrum if the deal goes ahead.

Industry experts are not surprised by the level of opposition to the merger.  Eddie Murphy at Priory Consulting warns that the merger would drive 'a coach and horses' through the original spectral agreement and give the merged entity ‘a significant spectral advantage'.
As part of the approval process, the EU Commission will now consult with interested UK parties, including of course, the OFT, OFCOM and UK operators and others.

Orange and T-Mobile will be hoping for a quick decision from the EU Commission in favour of the merger. In the event that the approval is left to the EU Commission and nobody puts a large spanner in the works, it could take as little as 25 working days. Just in time for the World Mobile Congress in Barcelona - a perfect venue for a T-Orange celebration.

On the other hand, T-Mobile and Orange execs may be left crying into their champagne at Barcelona, if rivals get their way and the OFT gets to investigate the deal.

Inevitably, a nail-biting delay would ensue and more than a little 1800MHz spectrum will be left hanging in the balance.

Written by Mobile Today
Mobile Today

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