Saturday, November 21, 2009

UK - DTAG and FT refuse to concede return of spectrum in proposed merger

[ft] Deutsche Telekom and France Telecom have signalled that they are unwilling to make concessions to competition regulators who will decide whether to allow the merger of their UK mobile phone businesses.

Hamid Akhavan, Deutsche Telekom's chief operating officer, and Olaf Swantee, head of France Telecom's mobile operations worldwide, said they saw no need to relinquish valuable radio spectrum in order to gain regulatory approval for the merger.

But Ed Richards, chief executive of Ofcom, the UK telecoms watchdog, signalled that regulators were likely to give the transaction intense scrutiny because of the risk of consumer harm.

France Telecom's Orange UK and Deutsche Telekom's T-Mobile UK are proposing to form a joint venture that would become the largest British mobile business by some distance, with a 37 per cent share of revenue paid by phone users.

Orange and T-Mobile are currently the third and fourth largest mobile operators, behind Telefónica's O 2 and Vodafone.

Telecoms groups stand firm on UK regulation

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