1/15/2016 11:28:55 AM
BT takeover of EE approved… What it means for mobile
As BT’s takeover receives approval from the Competition and Markets Authority we look at what the impact on the industry will be.
The real conditions
The biggest surprise for most industry insiders has been that the deal was passed ‘unconditionally’. It will cause anger in some areas of the market that the Competition and Markets Authority has passed the buck to Ofcom on some key regulatory issues. The CMA has stated that Ofcom’s market review will define exactly how this new telecoms giant is regulated. This will worry those that harbour doubts about Ofcom’s ability to stand up to BT and the networks. Nevertheless, it focuses attentions on the review, which now has an even greater importance.
Bring in the bundles?
How quickly BT begins offering EE’s mobile products in combination with its own TV, fixed line and broadband services is probably the area that its rivals will be watching the closest. Much of the talk surrounding the takeover centres upon customers ‘taking multiple services from one provider’. BT began leveraging its sports content to drive consumers towards its mobile service before Christmas. The big question is whether they continue to push on using this route or switch to cross selling EE services to its sizable customer base. Clearly preparations have begun at its competitors so they can act quickly should BT decide to start offering juicy product combination deals.
All eyes on O2
Back in the autumn of 2014 O2 were battling it out with EE to be bought by BT. Once it became clear that they hadn’t be chosen O2 began to seek a new buyer with Three’s owner Hutchison Whampoa stepped forward to acquire the Telefonica owned brand. That deal looks likely to be tied up with the European regulators until the spring at least. The wait raises the stakes for both Three and O2 even more so following the UK regulators’ approval, particularly from an infrastructure perspective where the combined BT/EE entity will now have a large and diverse number of network assets at its disposal.