Competitions authority to assess BT-EE and O2-Three mergers

Acquisition and merger sign

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) will assess the impact of O2 and Three's merger when deciding whether to allow that of BT and EE, it has announced.

The CMA has released a document that looks further into the issues that could arise as a result of BT's 12.5 billion acquisition of EE and a major part of this will look into how the 9.5 billion purchase of Telefnica (O2) by Hutchison Whampoa (Three) has changed the market.

There are fears that allowing both mergers to go ahead could have a big impact on competition in the UK's mobile telecoms landscape, so an assessment is necessary, the CMA said.

"O2 and H3G are major players in the UK telecoms market, [so] we will consider the potential implications of the proposed merger and the European Commission's investigation for the competitive conditions in the UK," the CMA stated in its document.

"The inquiry group of CMA panel members must decide whether if the acquisition is completed a relevant merger situation will be created and, if so, whether the creation of that situation may be expected to result in a substantial lessening of competition in any market or markets in the UK for goods or services."

The CMA will also look into how mobile services are sold to consumers, how wholesale mobile services are sold to mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) such as Virgin and Tesco Mobile and how both deals will change mobile backhaul services that BT currently provides to all UK mobile networks.

Fixed broadband services will additionally come under scrutiny because BT currently offers services to EE and other telecoms companies via its copper and fibre offshoot Openreach.

Clare Hopping
Freelance writer

Clare is the founder of Blue Cactus Digital, a digital marketing company that helps ethical and sustainability-focused businesses grow their customer base.

Prior to becoming a marketer, Clare was a journalist, working at a range of mobile device-focused outlets including Know Your Mobile before moving into freelance life.

As a freelance writer, she drew on her expertise in mobility to write features and guides for ITPro, as well as regularly writing news stories on a wide range of topics.