The Office of Fair Trading
(OFT) has requested the European Commission allows the UK authorities to investigate the Orange and T-Mobile
merger, amid fears it could harm competition.
The OFT has asked the
European Commission for the opportunity to examine the UK aspects of the deal,
which is set to create the UK's largest mobile phone operator.
The regulator said: ‘The
OFT's initial view, following consultation, is that the joint venture threatens
significantly to affect competition in mobile telecommunications in the UK.’
If the merger is approved,
the combination of T-Mobile and Orange
will create an operator which has 28.4 million customers and a 37% market
If Brussels approves the referral, the OFT will
have to decide whether to refer the merger to the Competition Commission for an
The move will delay the
merger, and the two companies may have to offer significant concessions in
order to secure regulatory approval.
The European Commission is
expected to decide within the next ten days whether to refer the merger to the
OFT or carry out its own investigation.