A plan to merge UK operators Vodafone and 3 passed a national security assessment by the government subject to a handful of conditions, though the proposal still needs to clear an ongoing competition probe.   

Terms outlined in a statement issued by the UK Cabinet Office include the establishment of a national security committee within the joint entity to oversee any sensitive work and monitor “topics relating to cyber, physical and personnel security”.

The committee is required to report to the country’s government on a regular basis.

Other conditions concern governance of the joint venture and an independent review of network migration plans.

The national security investigation is standard for any change of control for businesses operating in areas deemed sensitive to the UK’s economy such as telecommunications.

Clearance from security authorities is one of two major regulatory hurdles for the proposed merger of 3 UK with Vodafone’s unit in the country. The pair are still awaiting a decision from the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), which is working to a deadline of September for its probe.

The CMA opened its in-depth investigation after an initial assessment raised concerns about a potential drop in competition in the UK’s mobile sector and knock-on impact on the MVNO segment.

Chiefs at the two operators have made multiple public statements since announcing the proposed combination, asserting the deal is a positive for competition and necessary for the market.