2/22/2010 12:15:00 PM
T-Mobile and Orange merger to get green light
T-Mobile merger is expected to get the green light from the European Commission
this week after the two operators agreed a network sharing deal with 3 which gives it
access to 16,000 UK mast sites.
Sources say the EU Commission is
expected to inform the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) of its decision
today. The OFT requested leave from the EU Commission earlier this month to investigate the merger
because it was concerned it would reduce competition in the UK market. Its main concern was the impact of the merger on 3, which has a network sharing deal with T-Mobile.
However following the Orange/T-Mobile deal
with 3 the OFT is expected to accept the EU Commission’s decision. Sources say it will make an announcement today.
Orange and T-Mobile have also agreed to
relinquish 25% of their combined 1800 MHz spectrum – the wavelength earmarked
for super-fast mobile broadband internet. The two operators currently own 84% of 1800MHz spectrum in the UK between them.
However, this part of the
deal will disappoint rivals O2 and Vodafone who were pushing for the merger to
relinquish a greater share of spectrum.
The OFT and the EU
Commission declined to comment.