Consumer groups are advocating for a comprehensive probe into the proposed T-Mobile and Orange merger to analyse the impact that it could have on competition in the UK telecommunications market.
In a combined missive to the European Union’s competition commissioner, Neelie Kroes, two prominent consumer groups, namely Communications Consumer Panel (CCP) and Consume Focus, have urged the EU competition regulator to launch an investigation into the proposed deal.
The call for an investigation comes close on the heels of comments from the consumer body which mentioned that the “the planned merger of the two telecom giants makes the review of UK telecommunication sector a necessity’’.
The issues put forth by the consumer groups include the impact the merger could have on competitive innovation in the telecommunications sphere.
It further raised concerns about the deal’s undesired consequences on mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs), who don’t have their own networks, but lease network capacity from other companies to offer services.
In addition, the letter also expressed fears over spectrum allocation, and the substantial allocation the merged company could likely to have.
Mentioning the need for a detailed review of the merger, the letter stated: “We believe that this review would be best carried out at the national level, since the impact of the merger would be felt most strongly in the UK”.
MVNO shall be affected by the proposed merger even if until now Virgin Mobile has been quiet over the subject. Furthermore, one can expect 3 Networks, the smallest independent mobile provider and one who has a strategic partnership with T-Mobile, to feel slightly uncomfortable.