The UK's Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has asked the European Commission (EC) to bounce the UK aspects of the proposed joint venture between Orange and T-Mobile back to itself. Owners France Telecom and Deutsche Telekom announced the plan back in September 2009.
Following a programme of consultation, the OFT expressed it’s initial view, that the merger threatens significantly to affect competition in mobile telecommunications in the UK. Overall, the merger falls under European Union law and the OFT only has the power to request the case be further referred to the Competition Commission, but each referral adds months of time to the negotiations.
One of the biggest concerns is the T-Orange plan to combine and retain both company’s 1800MHz spectrum resources, thus controlling pretty much all of it as one company. This is causing cries of “Referee!” from the sidelines. It’s likely that the duo will be forced to hand some radio spectrum back to Ofcom control, who can then promptly sell it off again to raise revenue for the UK government.
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Originally published at OneMobileRing.com