The Department of Culture and Digital Economy has refused to be drawn into the debate regarding the takeover of BT by EE.
The stance was revealed in a letter responding to the International MVNOx Association’s request last week for ministerial intervention in the merger proceedings. Founder and director Frankie Spagnolo wrote to Ed Vaizey expressing her concern that the deal had received preliminary approval with no remedies to safeguard the wholesale market.
CMA, EC and Ofcom
In the letter, the DCMS refer the iMVNOx to a number of different regulators dealing with the merger. But pointedly no reference is made to the DCMS’s view on the deal and there is no indication that the government is prepared to involve itself in the merger debate.
The department refers the association to the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) and Ofcom, both of whom are assessing the deal in different ways.
‘I am pleased that you have written to the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA)’ the letter reads, ‘the CMA is the independent competition authority that is investigating and ruling on this merger. The CMA’s decisions are made independently of Government and Ministers have no role in the process.’
‘I am sure that Ofcom will also find your views on the UK Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) market helpful in its work on its strategic review of Digital Communications (DCR). Ofcom, including its CEO Sharon White, has expressed its view that competition in the mobile market in the UK is important in delivering innovation.’
Yesterday [19/11/2015] the deadline for the final submissions to the CMA regarding the BT/EE merger passed. It represents another milestone passed as the deal continues to move towards completion.
The Federation of Communication Services (FCS) called on its members to speak up in anticipation of the deadline and it will be interesting to see what impact its submissions have.