BT ready to fight for its EE purchase

BT is ready to defend its takeover of EE this week in front of the competition watchdogs.

The company is almost ready to put its formal submission to the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), arguing that its £12.5 billion takeover should be allowed.

The biggest issue for Vodafone, Sky and TalkTalk is the fact that EE will share its mobile mast infrastructure with rivals Three, through a joint venture called MBNL.

The Telegraph says BT is expected to argue that its return to the mobile market is likely to benefit consumers. In other European countries, bundling mobile services with broadband, home phone and pay-TV has tended to lead to lower overall prices.

Rivals, on the other hand, are expected to argue that BT must sell parts of its mobile spectrum because, as when it combines with EE it will breach Ofcom's cap.

[full_width_ad]

BT seems to be in a win-win situation: as of next year, new spectrum rights will mean BT's share of the airwaves would fall under the cap. However, BT might show some goodwill and sell some of its airwaves in anticipation of acquiring more 800MHz airwaves, the lowest 4G frequency, when regulators turn their eye to Three and O2's proposed merger.

The Telegraph says there’s also the problem of the mobile wholesale market. Telecoms mergers on the continent have come with obligations to provide sell network capacity to virtual network operators.

“BT will argue that the UK already has a competitive and market for virtual operators. EE already serves the biggest, Virgin Mobile, and plans to continue wholesaling network capacity, it is expected to say,” it says in the report.

Regulatory scrutiny of the EE takeover is expected to take many months.