Inaki Berroeta, CEO of Vodafone Hutchison Australia (VHA), said the company remains certain a planned merger with TPG Telecom will be completed in the first half of 2019 despite a delay in competition authority approval.
In a statement, the executive dismissed concerns the tie-up would harm consumers, arguing “customers will be the big winners”. He added increased investment requires greater scale and argued the merged company would be more competitive due to its “significantly increased ability to invest in networks, new technologies, and competitive plans and products for Australian customers”.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) last week raised concerns the planned AUD15 billion ($10.8 billion) merger would reduce competition in the country’s mobile and broadband markets, and pushed back the date for making a decision by three months to end-March 2019.
VHA and TPG Telecom announced the plan in August. The deal requires the approval of both the ACCC and the Foreign Investment Review Board.
The operator said the ACCC’s move “is a common interim step” in the authority’s merger review process and said it will “consider the matters raised in the ACCC’s statement and provide comprehensive responses in due course”.
Berroeta said: “This proposed merger is a significant transaction, and we respect the need for the ACCC to make a carefully considered decision.”
VHA said it has engaged closely with the ACCC in recent months, providing a significant amount of information about the proposed merger, consumer benefits and challenges faced by providers in the telecoms sector.Subscribe to our daily newsletter Back