Vodafone cancelled the sale of its UK pager unit, opting to close down the business rather than face the expense of participating in a prolonged investigation by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA).

The deal, announced in February, would have seen Vodafone’s 1,000 pager customers move over to business services company Capita.

However, as the transaction would have reduced the number of players in the market offering the technology to one, the transaction needed to be cleared by the country’s competition authority.

Earlier today, the CMA opened a probe into the sale amid concerns it could lead to a substantial lessening of competition. It added the two parties must “offer acceptable undertakings to address these competition concerns.”

In a written statement, a Vodafone UK company representative said: “We are disappointed with the decision by the Competition and Markets Authority to continue its investigation into the transfer of Vodafone’s paging customers to Capita’s PageOne business. This seems to be a surprising decision considering that this market has been contracting for some time and no other country in Europe has more than one wide area paging network.”

“Due to the expense involved with a prolonged investigation, Vodafone will not pursue the transaction and has made the decision to close down this business, which is based on ageing, standalone technology no longer supported by network vendors. We will do our utmost to minimise the impact on the 1,000 or so customers still using the service.”