The European Commission (EC) will this week press Telenor and TeliaSonera for more concessions if they want their proposed merger in Denmark to go ahead, according to Reuters.
The two operators announced plans to merge back in December, with the aim of creating a counterweight to market leader TDC. A merger would reduce the number of operators in the country’s market from four to three.
The EU warning, known as a statement of objections, will likely be sent to the operators this week. It can be the precursor to a veto, unless the operators can propose more concessions to the commission.
The commission opened an in-depth investigation into the TeliaSonera-Telenor merger in April.
At the time, the EC said it had concerns that the merged entity would face insufficient competition from the only two remaining players. “This could lead to higher prices and less innovation,” it argued in a statement.
In addition, the reduction in the number of network operators able to offer wholesale services could weaken the position of MVNOs in the Danish market, it said.
The merger would also result in a “highly concentrated market structure with two large and symmetric operators at the retail and wholesale level”. The EC also raised the concern of coordination between the remaining operators.
For their part, TeliaSonera and Telenor argued the merger will create a strong fixed and mobile competitor to the benefit of businesses and consumers, who will see improved connectivity, higher speeds and better performance across the whole country.
In addition, customers would see a larger distribution network and more user-friendly services. “We therefore remain confident that the merger will be approved during 2015,” they said at the time.
The commission has a 2 September deadline for its decision.