The deal for TeliaSonera to acquire the Norwegian unit of Tele2 will face further scrutiny after the competition authority in Norway extended its review of the transaction.
The Competition Authority said it will deliver a decision about whether the deal will be approved or have any conditions attached to it by 11 November.
According to a statement from the organisation, more time is needed to consider whether the merger will limit competition that could result in higher prices or a decline in service quality for customers.
The merger of TeliaSonera and Tele2 will leave Norway with just two major operators, the other one being Telenor. However, newcomer Ice, which surprisingly won frequencies in Norway’s 4G spectrum auction at the expense of Tele2, is about to announce its Norwegian expansion plans.
Tele2’s failure in the 4G auction eventually led it to agreeing the sale of its Norwegian operations to rival TeliaSonera for SEK5.1 billion ($744 million) in July.
The combination will see TeliaSonera end up with 2.7 million connections, increasing its market share to around 40 per cent. Market leader Telenor had 3.2 million mobile connections at the end of the second quarter of 2014, according to GSMA Intelligence figures.
When the merger was announced, TeliaSonera said that “in order to show the benefit of consolidation for the customer” it will deliver 4G coverage to 98 per cent of the population by 2016, two years ahead of its obligations. This could also have the benefit of appeasing the competition regulator.
While its position in Norway was made unclear, Tele2 focused its efforts on markets including Sweden, Netherlands and Kazakhstan. Last year, it also offloaded its Russian unit.