Ahead of a formal investigation, the UK’s competition authority requested comments on the potential implications from Vodafone Group and CK Hutchison merging mobile operations in the country.

In a statement, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) called for opinions from interested third parties on the proposed deal as part of its initial evidence gathering.

It is yet to launch a formal investigation, though intends to do so once it has received the requisite information from the two companies involved. The CMA noted there would be another opportunity for third parties to submit comments once its probe begins.

The CMA intends to look into how the combination of the 3 UK and Vodafone’s local unit could impact options available to consumers and affect pricing, alongside how “it may affect incentives to invest in the quality of UK mobile networks”.

It clarified it would only be assessing the competition implications of the deal with elements such as any national security concerns out of its remit.

Interested parties have until 1 November to submit comments during the current phase.

The parent companies of Vodafone UK and 3 UK announced their intent to merge operations in June having been in talks over the deal for over eight months. On revealing the provisional pact, the companies positioned it having positive implications for competition in the UK market.