Regulators oppose EC on Telefonica/E-Plus deal - report

Regulators oppose EC on Telefonica/E-Plus deal – report

23 JUN 2014

The European Commission’s (EC’s) approval of Telefonica’s proposed acquisition of German rival E-Plus is running into widespread opposition from national regulators, said the Financial Times.

A recent meeting in Brussels to review the EC’s approval of the deal saw just two out of 12 national regulators support the commission’s remedies, according to two officials involved in the meeting.

The vote is not binding because it was only an advisory committee and the commission retains final say but such dissent is unusual, said the report.

Opposition to the EC proposal was split into five regulators (Austria, Germany, Ireland, Italy and the UK) who voted against it, while five others (Denmark, France, Netherlands, Portugal and Spain) abstained. Only Sweden and Belgium supported it.

Decisions reaching the advisory committee are close to set in stone for the commission. A report to the effect that the Telefonica deal was close to approval surfaced last week.

The opposition of national regulators comes off the back of a report last week that the European Commission’s proposal is causing concern with the Bundeskartellamt, the country’s antitrust authority.

The authority is unhappy about the trade-off between MVNOs gaining enhanced access to Telefonica/E-Plus’s network and a reduction in the number of operators in Germany from four to three.

The idea is Telefonica sets aside 20 per cent of its network capacity for rivals but the proposal appears not to have satisfied the German watchdog.

The Telefonica/E-Plus deal is seen as a key benchmark deal to establish the terms under which operators are allowed to consolidate in the European Union.

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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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