TalkTalk calls for BT breakup intensifies

TalkTalk has urged regulator Offcom to instruct rival BT to spin out its infrastructure division Openreach due to competition concerns.

The telecoms firm aired its grievances in what The Telegraph reports is a strongly worded contribution to Offcom’s ten-year review of the telecoms market. BT’s “motive is to extract value” from its existing copper assets and pump the money into pay TV sports and its pending acquisition of rival mobile network EE.

“An incumbent of this size will never have a strong enough incentive to invest in transformative new technology and infrastructure,” said TalkTalk in the document. It added that BT has used Openreach to gain “a very substantial advantage particularly in superfast broadband,” and claimed that it has “manipulated” control over product design and pricing to dominate the market.

The challenger network is also wary of consolidation in the market following the pending mergers of BT and EE and O2 with Three, adding that it shares Offcom’s view that four separate operators are needed to “ensure customers are treated fairly”.

BT’s submission to Offcom’s review slammed Sky’s dominance of the pay television market as it moved to justify its ownership of Openreach. The telecoms giant’s chief executive’s Gavin Patterson said Openreach should stay under its ownership to continue to benefit from its finances as well as the £50m it spends each year on research and development.

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