Bt EE CMA

BT tells UK competition authority EE acquisition will stimulate ‘competition, investment and innovation’

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By Jennifer Faull | Deputy Editor

May 18, 2015 | 2 min read

BT has made its formal submission to the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) to seek approval for the £12.5bn acquisition of EE, claiming it will be good for “competition, investment and innovation in the UK”.

Consumer watchdog Which? has previously expressed concerns that the acquisition, following the merger of O2 and Three, could lead to companies pushing “quad-play” deals which combine a mobile phone tariff, broadband, fixed line and pay-TV services in one bill. Which? said this makes it harder for consumers to compare pricing,

However, BT has argued that the acquisition will not reduce competition in either the fixed or mobile markets and will in fact enhance it, with the number of UK mobile network operators remaining at four. It adds that consumers will also have more choice when it comes to fixed-mobile services and quad play bundles.

“A larger BT will be able to invest and innovate even more than now, something that’s good for jobs and good for customers. The acquisition will lead to greater competition, given our history as a natural and willing wholesaler, enabling other companies to use the networks we own,” said Gavin Patterson, BT Group chief executive.

“We provide wholesale access to companies in the broadband market and we are happy to support others who wish to compete in the mobile market as well. The UK is one of the most tightly regulated marketplaces in the world and that will continue to be the case ensuring all companies can compete on a fair basis.”

BT has asked the CMA to proceed directly to a Phase two investigation into the proposed acquisition which the CMA is expected to confirm within three weeks.

The company expects the process and the EE transaction to complete by the end of March 2016.

Bt EE CMA

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