New Zealand’s competition watchdog cleared investment company Infratil to acquire up to 50 per cent of Vodafone New Zealand, declaring competition in the mobile market, with three operators, is unlikely to be affected.

In a statement, Commerce Commission (ComCom) chair Anna Rawlings said it was satisfied Infratil’s proposed shareholding in both Vodafone and Trustpower would not substantially lessen competition in any of the markets it assessed.

Infratil holds a 51 per cent share of Trustpower, which recently entered a deal to provide wireless broadband and mobile services with Spark.

In May Vodafone Group announced it plans to sell its New Zealand mobile unit to a consortium comprising utilities investor Infratil and Brookfield Asset Management for NZD3.4 billion ($2.3 billion). Vodafone said the companies will enter into a partner market agreement covering the use of its brand, along with roaming arrangements.

Infratil insisted in its application for the acquisition that Vodafone and Trustpower would continue to operate as independent companies.

Rawlings said: “As it stands, Vodafone and Trustpower are not each other’s closest competitors and even in regions where they would hold high market shares, such as Bay of Plenty and Wellington, they will continue to face effective competition from several other national operators.”

Infratil is based in New Zealand and focuses on infrastructure investments. It owns data, connectivity, social infrastructure, renewable energy and airport businesses.

Vodafone New Zealand is the largest mobile player in the country with a 40 per cent share and about 2.6 million subscribers, Q2 data from GSMA Intelligence showed.