The EC and Germany’s telecoms regulator wants Telefonica and KPN’s E-Plus to give up 900 MHz/1.8 GHz spectrum as part of any approval for the Spanish operator’s benchmark €8.6 billion takeover of its smaller German rival.
According to a Financial Times report, the commission told Telefonica at a recent meeting that potential remedies included the loss of spectrum so that a new operator could enter the German market, in competition with incumbents Telefonica/E-Plus, T-Mobile and Vodafone.
And a paper published by Germany’s Bundesnetzagentur said there was a need for action on Telefonica/E-Plus’s share of 900/1.8 GHz spectrum, effectively meaning a sale (although not explicitly to a new entrant).
The paper said Telefonica and E-Plus together have 64 per cent of 1.8 GHz spectrum, leaving T-Mobile and Vodafone with 28.5 percent and 7.5 percent, respectively.
The German regulator said one possibility was to postpone a planned auction of 800 MHz, 2 GHz and 2.6 GHz frequencies planned for December 2014 until 2015, and then combine with the sale of 900 MHz and 1.8 GHz frequencies from Telefonica/E-Plus.
The EC has responsibility for approving or blocking the deal between Telefonica and E-Plus but the German regulator can study the spectrum issues resulting from combining the two operators.