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May 18, 2015

BT makes case for EE acquisition to CMA

Acquisition will not reduce competition in either fixed or mobile markets, telecoms operator claims.

By Alexander Sword

BT has made its formal submission to the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) regarding its acquisition of EE.

The UK telecoms company argues that the acquisition will not reduce competition in either the fixed or mobile markets, since the number of mobilenetwork operators would remain at four. The acquisition would apparently not affect landline and mobile competitors’ ability to compete using the Openreach network.

It also claims that it will have market shares in the broadband and mobile markets "under the threshold that regulators normally look for before considering whether action is required."

In the quad-play and fixed-mobile bundles market, BT claims that the acquisition will actually increase competition as BT will be able to offer a bundle alongside those of Virgin Media and TalkTalk.

BT asked the regulator to proceed to a Phase 2 investigation, with the CMA expected to confirm in about three weeks whether it will. Overall, BT hopes to conclude the transaction by the end of March 2016.

Gavin Patterson, BT Group Chief Executive, said: "BT’s acquisition of EE will be good for consumers, businesses and UK plc, as well as for BT shareholders, so we are keen to get regulatory clearance. 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.

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"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."

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