Virgin Media speaks up in support of Three and O2 merger

Virgin Media speaks up in support of Three and O2 merger

Virgin Media has given the proposed merger between Three and O2 its public backing.

CEO Tom Mockridge said the business believes that any competition concerns can be addressed ‘without blocking the deal’.

The Liberty Global owned business has previously spoken about consolidation in the market, describing the BT takeover of EE describing the deal as a ‘compliment’ to those in the quad play market.

It becomes the second MVNO to come out in support of the deal for Three’s owners Hutchison Whampoa to buy O2 after Sky announced that it believed the merger would be beneficial for the market.

Past form

Mockridge said that previous deals passed by the commission in Ireland and Austria hadn’t reduced competition and this was unlikely to be the case in the UK.

 ‘Any competition concerns can be addressed without blocking the proposed O2-Three transaction’ he said ‘the Commission has previously cleared mobile mergers which resulted in a reduction in the number of mobile operators from four to three, subject to wholesale remedies.  In two of these cases, Austria and Ireland, Virgin Media's parent company Liberty Global provides vigorous competition and consumer choice as a result of taking EU remedies.

‘The same can be true in the UK.  A combined O2-Three could have more to offer consumers and, crucially, more capacity for other providers who want to drive competition in their own right.   With the right remedies, this deal could stimulate not curb competition.’

 

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Of course the MVNOs will support the merger, in all countries where the number of networks has reduced from four to three, prices have gone up - just ...
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