Telenor warns against splitting off BT’s Openreach - Mobile World Live

Telenor warns against splitting off BT’s Openreach

30 SEP 2016

Although not an operator in the UK, Telenor is concerned that plans for a legal separation of Openreach will set a precedent for other countries.

The warning comes in a letter from Telenor CEO Sigve Brekke to Sharon White, head of UK telecoms regulator Ofcom, seen by the Financial Times (FT).

“I am keen to avoid possible negative outcomes that may influence or risk serving as a precedent in other markets,” wrote Brekke.

Ofcom is currently conducting its Digital Communications Review, whose remit includes whether BT should be further separated from Openreach, its local-networks unit.

A number of other incumbents are thought to share Telenor’s concerns of such ideas spreading from the UK to their markets, said the FT.

Ofcom is looking at various models for how separation of Openreach could work. Sharon White has previously cited Telia’s spinoff of networks unit Skanova into a legally separate yet fully incorporated firm in 2008.

Brekke said Telenor has not detected “any tangible benefit that has arisen from the incorporation of Skanova” in the Swedish market, where the Norwegian operator competes with incumbent Telia.

He said the split in Sweden had not shown the “hoped-for benefits of greater independence and impartiality”.

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Richard Handford

Richard is the editor of Mobile World Live’s money channel and a contributor to the daily news service. He is an experienced technology and business journalist who previously worked as a freelancer for many publications over the last decade including...

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