Ed Vaizey pulled into BT/EE merger as debate gets political

Ed Vaizey pulled into BT/EE merger as debate gets political

The campaign against the Competition and Markets Authority’s (CMA) decision to preliminary approve the BT/EE merger has taken a political twist.

The International MVNOx Association (iMVNOx) has written to Ed Vaizey the minister of State for Culture and the Digital Economy expressing its concerns about the CMA’s decision to preliminarily approve the deal.

The letter from Association’s founder and director Frankie Spagnolo points to the fact that the CMA’s case panel was split in its decision regarding the wholesale market.

It also asks Vaizey to consider the role that MVNOs play and warns that consolidation risks independent providers being squeezed out of the market. The iMVNOx told the minister that it fears the CMA had not considered the complexities of the market in enough detail.

Industry backlash begins over BT/EE takeover decisions

Remedies needed

The association believes that before the deal can be passed certain remedies need to be put in place to protect the wholesale market, as Spagnolo explains in the letter: ‘We are concerned that the CMA’s focus in its current findings on the wholesale market fails to fully take into account the innovation MVNOs bring to the market, which would see an increase in market foreclosure should the CMA’s decision to go forward remain without any remedies to protect the wholesale market.’

‘Consolidation risks independent providers being squeezed out of the market or being mere resale “subsidiaries” of networks. This is particularly a concern as combined fixed and mobile bundles become standard and without a competitive wholesale market and the ability for Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs) to compete on a level playing field, these risks increase.’

Competition concerns

A number of interested parties who gave evidence to the CMA have expressed an intention to take part in the second consultation phase of the merger investigation.

As Mobile revealed last week the Federation of Communication Services intends to comment on the regulators findings. Vodafone and TalkTalk are also amongst some of those who intend to comment on the regulator’s findings.

 TalkTalk joins Vodafone in BT EE merger concerns

8 days of noise

The FCS has once again called on stakeholders to share their concerns with the regulator.

In an email to its members last night [11/11/2015] the FCS warned that there were only eight days left to make ‘as much noise as they can’ to the CMA regarding the deal.




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