3/1/2010 11:06:00 AM
Orange and T-Mobile merger to get go-ahead today, sources claim
The EU Commission is expected to give the Orange/T-Mobile merger its approval today, sources told Mobile.
The deadline for the EU Commission to respond to the Office of Fair Trading’s request to investigate the merger falls today. However the OFT’s request is expected to be withdrawn and an announcement made by the EU Commission that the merger has been approved, say sources.
The OFT's request was prompted by its concerns that the merger would make the UK telecoms industry uncompetitive. However it is understood the regulator’s concerns were allayed after the two operators made a network sharing deal with 3 giving it access to 16,000 UK mast sites and agreed to relinquish 25% of 1800 MHz spectrum.
The combination of T-Mobile and Orange will create an operator which has 28.4 million customers and a 37% market share.
The OFT and the EU Commission declined to comment. Orange and T-Mobile also declined to comment.