The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has cleared BT’s anticipated acquisition of EE in a £12.5 billion acquisition that brings together the UK’s largest fixed telecoms business and the UK’s largest mobile telecoms business.
BT Group plc (BT) and EE Limited (EE) operate largely in separate areas with BT strong in supplying fixed communications services (voice, broadband and pay TV), EE strong in supplying mobile communications services, and limited overlap between them in both categories of service. BT(including Openreach) also provides many fixed services to other communications providers, including backhaul services to mobile communications providers such as EE, O2, Three and Vodafone. These backhaul services connect radio masts to core networks. EE also provides wholesale mobile services to other mobile service providers such as Virgin Media.
A range of concerns were raised by other operators and customers in the UK telecoms industry, and the CMA’s assessment has been complex, detailed and rigorous. After considering in detail responses to the provisional findings, as well as the extensive evidence gathered during the inquiry, theCMA inquiry group has decided that the merger is not expected to result in a substantial lessening of competition (SLC) in any market or markets in the UK, including in relation to the supply of retail mobile, wholesale mobile, mobile backhaul, wholesale broadband and retail broadband services.
John Wotton, Inquiry Chair, said:
“Since our provisional findings, we have taken extra time to consider responses in detail but the evidence does not show that this merger is likely to cause significant harm to competition or the interests of consumers.”