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BT puts £12.5bn EE takeover proposal to watchdog

The telecoms provider will formally submit its intention to take over the mobile network to Competition and Markets Authority

A close up photo of the BT tower lit up at night

BT will present its case for taking over EE to the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) this week, in a bid to ensure the deal goes ahead.

BT agreed to buy EE for 12.5bn in February following months of takeover rumours. The telco will take control of EE's 31 million-strong customer base and its 834,000 fixed broadband customers.

Rivals Sky, TalkTalk and Vodafone have already suggested BT will exceed caps imposed by Ofcom regarding the amount of radio spectrum a single provider is allowed when it merges with EE merge

However, BT is expected to agree to sell off a proportion of its spectrum so it can gain more of the 800MHz frequency to boost its 4G coverage as part of the proposal to the CMA.

BT is also likely to argue that its acquisition of EE will benefit customers by allowing them to sign up to complete packages covering mobile, broadband, landline and subscription TV services - something that has proved successful in other areas of Europe.

Another controversy surrounding the merger of BT and EE is that the mobile network already has a deal with Three to share mobile mast infrastructure via a joint venture called MBNL.

MBNL is also used to provide Virgin Media and CityFibre customers with fibre-based connections, but rivals think this relationship could be harmed if BT hooks up with EE, because the new super-company may decide to cut costs by moving traffic onto its own cables rather than using those shared with other companies.

BT may compromise, however, by promising to use Openreach to provide network owners with traffic rather than using the separate MBNL.

The CMA's investigation into the proposal is expected to last several months, meaning the deal is unlikely to close before the end of the summer.

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