Orange and T-Mobile woo EC over merger plan

France Telecom - owner of Orange - and Deutsche Telekom - owner of TMobile are wooing the European Commission with concessions in an attempt to get approval for a merger of their mobile phone businesses in the UK.

The merger of Orange UK and Deutsche Telekom's T-Mobile UK was proposed in September. Together, the pair would outstrip Vodafone as the biggest mobile operator in the UK. The UK Office of Fair Trading has said that the joint venture "threatens significantly to affect competition in mobile telecommunications in the UK".

In an effort to appease the Commissioners, France Telecom and Deutsche Telekom said they would give up to a quarter of the spectrum it will hold at the 1800MHz bandwidth, the FT reports.

The paper said the pair may share infrastructure with 3, the smallest of the UK operators owned by Hong Kong's Hutchison Whampoa,

France Telecom and Deutsche Telekom hope to avoid the Commission launching an in-depth investigation that would last months.